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Last Updated: Friday, 10 February 2006, 14:12 GMT
Stolen buffalo spark dung warning
Water buffalo
The six buffalo can spray dung over a wide distance
Police had to warn people not to approach six water buffalo "able to spray dung across large distances" after they went missing.

The buffalo were taken from a field in Lymington, Hampshire, on Wednesday night. They did not turn up again until Friday lunchtime.

Police believe the six animals may have been stolen because there was no trail of tell-tale dung at the scene.

A spokesman said they were eventually found in a nearby lane.

They should not be approached from behind... as the animals are able to spray dung across large distances
Pc Christopher Yates

While the buffalo were still missing, the public were warned not to approach them from behind.

Pc Christopher Yates said: "Apparently these animals leave an obvious trail of dung if they walk anywhere, and there is no such trail so it's possible they have been removed using a large vehicle.

"They are usually docile and tend to stay in a group but should not be approached from behind as the person caring for them has advised that the animals are able to spray dung across large distances."

After they were found, he said the disappearance was still being treated as a suspected theft.

"For them to have been missing for 36 hours with nobody seeing them is a bit strange," he added.

The theft came after the buffalo broke loose in Lymington last November.

The majority of water buffalo are to be found in Asia but have been increasingly used in the UK to produce speciality milk, cheese and yoghurts.

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