Mystery flock of sheep wanders into village

By MSN UK News Andrew Hasson/Rex Features
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Locals in East Sussex baffled by sudden appearance of stray animals

A mysterious flock of sheep has appeared in the East Sussex village of Chiddingly, startling residents and prompting a police investigation. There have been no reports of sheep going missing in the area, and it is thought that the animals might have been dumped by a farmer due to a shortage of grass and the high price of hay. Click through for more.

Andrew Hasson/Rex Features
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Irene and Hugh Soper with some of the sheep they are looking after

Some of the villagers have taken temporary ownership of the sheep, including Hugh Soper and his wife Irene, who found 20 of them roaming through the garden of their home.

Andrew Hasson/Rex Features
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Some of the sheep trot through a garden in Chiddingly

If someone does not step forward to claim the sheep, which do not have ear tags, in the next two weeks they will become the legal property of Hugh and Irene and other residents. At this point the villagers will have to pay to feed the animals or have them destroyed.

Andrew Hasson/Rex Features
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Irene and Hugh Soper watch some of the sheep

"The theory is they've been dumped because of the shortage of grass," Hugh Soper told the BBC. "And farmers couldn't afford to buy hay last year because it was so expensive. They [the sheep] are not worth anything. In fact, they are a liability. I'm saddled with them. In another fortnight's time, they will become my legal property and I have got to dispose of them at my own expense."

Andrew Hasson/Rex Features
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Irene Soper rounds up some of the sheep

Frank Langrish, from the National Farmers' Union, said sheep could travel long distances, and that these might have run out of food and moved from several miles away. "The owner may have more sheep than this and actually hasn't counted his sheep because he's busy lambing," he told the BBC, adding that all sheep over six months should have ear tags, but a farmer keeping them for his own flock may not have got round to it.