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Monday, 22 April, 2002, 13:41 GMT 14:41 UK
Deer 'pose risk' to drivers
Red deer
The deer escaped after a gate was opened
A warning has been issued to drivers after 170 young deer were deliberately released from a farm in the north of Scotland.

Temporary warning signs have been put in place on the road from Elgin to Rothes and on a number of minor routes.

Grampian Police have appealed for anyone with information on the incident to come forward.

Farmer Martin Green said someone appeared to have wedged open a gate at Easterton Farm near Elgin, in Moray.

I don't have any enemies in the area, there are no vendettas and there have been no calls from animal rights activists

Martin Green
The 10-month-old red deer calves have been missing since Sunday evening.

Mr Green, 45, also voiced fears for the safety of any driver who comes across the animals.

"Young calves weigh maybe 50 or 60kg although the stags are probably closer to 70kg.

"If you hit one with your car it would cause very serious damage and because they are red deer they are intensely social and are found in large groups so you wouldn't just hit one of them," he said.

Mr Green, who has been producing venison for four years, said he had not experienced any problems in the past.

"I don't have any enemies in the area, there are no vendettas and there have been no calls from animal rights activists," he said.

Wandered back

He was still attempting to find the calves on Monday.

"They are only 10 months old and they're running around all over the place.

"We have two which wandered back into the fold by accident.

"The police believe that it was deliberate. The officer who was here didn't think that wind could blow open a 14ft stall gate and it appeared to have been wedged open anyway," said Mr Green.

See also:

11 Feb 02 | Scotland
Call for deer shooting inquiry
05 Nov 01 | Scotland
Minister backs deer cull call
30 Sep 01 | Scotland
Culled deer may be dumped
17 Sep 99 | Sheffield 99
Call for return of Scottish wolves
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