Page last updated at 16:38 GMT, Saturday, 8 August 2009 17:38 UK

UK's most expensive sheep is dead

Tophill Joe
Tophill Joe's owners recouped their investment many times over

Britain's most expensive sheep has died at a farm in north east Scotland after fathering lambs worth more than £1m.

Tophill Joe broke all records when he was bought by a consortium of farmers for £128,000 six years ago.

The Texel ram was valued for his perfectly-shaped head and legs, tight skin and top-quality fleece.

His owners at Fyvie, near Turriff, Aberdeenshire, said recent hot weather in the area may have contributed to the sheep's demise.

Many of Tophill Joe's offspring picked up prizes at the prestigious Royal Highland Show.

Co-owner, Bruce Mair, said: "He had particularly good characteristics. He was active right up until the end.

"He could be a bit of a pain sometimes - he had an aggressive streak, particularly during the mating season, but he will be missed.

"Sadly, he didn't survive the very hot weather. The hot weather is tough going for a ram and this summer had some very hot spells."

Tophill Joe is believed to have been six-years-old when he died.

Texel sheep originate from the island of Texel, off Holland, and have been known since Roman times.

They were introduced to Britain in the 1970s, and are renowned for their lean meat.

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