Mystery as flock of sheep suddenly appear in village

CHIDDINGLY - man has flock of sheep dumped in garden -Hugh Soper
CHIDDINGLY - man has flock of sheep dumped in garden -Hugh Soper
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Mystery surround the appearance of dozens of sheep wandering around Chiddingly.

Sussex Police has launched an appeal to find the owners of the 56 black and white sheep.

The livestock are being cared for by residents in their back gardens while the search for the owner is carried out.

Police were called at 5.10pm on April 13 to a report sheep were found in a field.

A Sussex Plice spokesman said: “There does not appear to have been any reports of missing or stolen sheep in the area. Neighbourhood police officers are working to resolve the situation.”

Hugh Soper, is caring for 20 sheep in his back garden with his neighbour keeping check on the remainder.

Mr Soper said: “A flock of sheep turned up in Chiddingly and we thought they might have been dumped. There’s 56 all told. They turned up in my driveway and in my garden where I keep 17 bee hives so I had to herd them through to a patch of land.

“They are chomping in the grass and it makes me wonder if a farmer had a terrible spring and cannot afford to pay hay charges and then abandoned them.

“They have black faces and legs but have not been tagged and I understand they have to be tagged at a year old.

“Some ended up in a field rather unsuitable for sheep because it had holes in the fence but now my neighbour has taken some of them onto his land and is caring for them.

“My son did take care of some sheep once and I’ve a biggish garden so it has not been too difficult looking after them.

“I’ve phoned all my direct neighbours and visited farms I knew of and had one or two leads but they’ve not led anywhere.”

An RSPCA spokeswoman said: “I have double checked with people here and the feeling is that it is far more likely that sheep in these numbers have strayed rather than been abandoned.

“It is certainly not normal for that number of sheep to be found in a back garden, but we are pleased to hear the sheep are OK and are being looked after.

“We stand ready to help the police trace the owners if they need it.”