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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 January 2006, 13:18 GMT
Hunt helps find 60 missing boar
Wild boar - generic

A Devon farmer has enlisted the support of a local hunt to round up more than 60 wild boar which have been set free from his farm.

The animals have damaged gardens and crops around the village of West Anstey after they were freed last month.

Police believe animal rights activists may have cut the chain link fence enclosing the animals.

About 40 have been recaptured, but 60 are still free. Some have been shot and others have been killed on the road.

'Not dangerous'

Two animals have been spotted 40 miles away near Plymouth after making the journey across Dartmoor.

Allan Dedames, who owns the Woodland Wild Boar Farm, said the boar were not dangerous unless cornered.

He said: "If you're hunting one and trying to kill it, it will stand up for itself and it probably could get very aggressive.

"But on the whole they'll take no notice of humans and just get on with their business wandering around."

Mr Dedames stressed that the hunt group would not harm the creatures when they saddle up on Wednesday morning.

He said: "There's no hunting going on. It's literally they're helping me to round up the animals.

"They're the best people for dealing with wild animals who are out there.

"They know the lie of the land, and, to be honest, it seemed common sense to use them."

The senior master of the Dulverton Farmers' Hunt, Mrs Susie Maund, said it was going to be difficult even to find the boar, adding: "We are going to need all the luck we can get."

The hunt, which usually goes out with around 20 riders, will be searching the valleys around West Anstey, she said.

The hounds will be used to rouse the boar out of cover, and quad bikes and boards would be used to try and drive them back to the farm.

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