Police called to round up wayward sheep from cul-de-sac
By BEN FARMER (appropriately)
30th October 2006
The sheep in the woman's garden in the town of Hertford, Hertfordshire
Counting a procession of woolly sheep is recommended to send restless insomniacs slipping into a deep, peaceful slumber.
Waking up to find a flock of 40 of them have invaded your front garden on the other hand is guaranteed to make the day start with a jolt.
This is the scene which greeted Daphne Willson when she opened the curtains onto her usually quiet and tranquil cul-de-sac.
Still dressed in her dressing gown as she went to make a cup of tea, Mrs Willson was confronted by the woolly invaders from a nearby farm peering at her through the early morning gloom.
Around 40 of them were contentedly nibbling her neighbour's lawn and browsing on her pot plants.
Mrs Willson, 85, said: "I thought I was dreaming - or counting sheep!
"It was so quiet, it was early morning and I always get up at half six to make a cup of tea.
"I walked through and looked out my front window and I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was a mass of grey out there.
"I thought, 'Oh my God', I thought I was having a nightmare.
"They were good as gold, chewing the grass. They weren't making a nuisance."
Mrs Willson, of Hertford, Hertfordshire, woke her husband Stan, 86, to see the sheep spectacle for himself.
He said: "No-one would believe us if we didn't have the picture to prove it.
"It was such a funny sight - it's certainly not something you see every day."
The sheep are believed to have escaped from a farm near the town of Bengeo when the gate to their field was left open.
How or why they made the trek to the Willson's garden remains a mystery.
Mr Willson, a retired warehouse worker, said: "It looks like one walked and the rest of them followed, like sheep really. How they found us round here I don't know, because the chaps that do deliveries never can."
Mrs Willson said: "We don't back on to a field. We have a school behind us and that's all wired up so I don't think they could get through there. "The farm is quite a way away, it's a mystery."
When the couple called the local police to round them up the flock they ran and jumped through gardens until they were shepherded into an improvised pen between two houses and blocked with a parked police car.
After they had tracked down the local farmer, he and his sheepdog were able to expertly load the escapees into a lorry, before returning to clean up the debris.
Mrs Willson said: "They broke a lot of pots and stuff, but I told the farmer it wasn't his fault."
A spokeswoman for Hertfordshire police said: "We were called following reports that a woman had a flock of sheep in her garden. The sheep were gathered up, and the council then cleared up the road."