A farmer has been reunited with his lost sheep after they escaped from a field and found their way into villagers’ gardens.
Residents in the leafy Sussex village of Chiddingly, near Lewes, were scratching their heads when more than 50 of the Suffolks turned up in their back gardens 10 days ago.
Hugh Soper and his wife Irene had taken on 20 of the sheep and had been caring for them in a paddock while police made efforts to trace the owners. Another couple had taken in 33.
Mr Soper, 77, said the sheep were thought to be last year’s lambs and they did not have ear tags, so could not enter the food chain.
He feared he would have to pay for them to be destroyed if no one came forward to claim them back.
But Sussex Police said they had finally traced the farmer and he had come to collect them.
“The sheep have been returned to their local owner. It seems that the owner was unwell, had just suffered a bereavement and taken his eye off the ball for a bit,” said a force spokesman.
In January, 28 sheep were found wandering in a garden in nearby Heathfield before they were reunited with their farmer.