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ELKCHSR

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British law targets towards woolly criminals


LONDON (AFP) - A new British law designed to clamp down on unruly teenage criminals and noisy neighbours now has some more unusual criminals in its sights -- sheep.


The woolly troublemakers stand accused of causing a menace around the ancient Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, central England, by roaming dangerously across roads and munching through people's gardens.


Authorities could soon respond by applying for anti-social behaviour orders, or Asbos, a relatively new legal recourse demanding a change to behaviour under the threat of prison, the Daily Telegraph said.


These would be served on shepherds of free-roaming flocks, which are allowed to graze in the forest under rights dating back to the Norman era, almost 1,000 years ago, the paper said.


The orders, being considered by Forest of Dean council, would also tackle herders who have allegedly attacked cars and other property belonging to locals who have complained about the sheep.


The long-standing argument looked to have ended three years ago when foot-and-mouth disease wiped out the bulk of the forest's sheep, the paper said.


"Part of the problem may be that after the foot-and-mouth epidemic the residents became used to having no sheep around," Amir Razvi from Forest of Dean council told the Telegraph.


"They were able to open their gates and grow flowers. Now that the sheep are back they feel that they are back to the bad old days."
 
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