Freed mink run back to the farm

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BY YESTERDAY afternoon it had become apparent that life on the run was too much for some of the fugitive mink released into the wild by animal liberationists earlier this week.

Six were spotted on the runway at Bournemouth International Airport, although it was not clear whether they were planning to hurl themselves under the wheels of a passing jet, or hop on a plane bound for a country that has no extradition treaty with Britain.

Others had returned to Crow Hill Farm, from where they were released, and could be seen frantically scrabbling at the wires, begging to be let back in. The 6,000 mink were released early on Sunday when the Animal Liberation Front smashed cages and cut the perimeter wires at the farm, near Ringwood, Hampshire. About 2,000 refused to leave, but 4,000 made a run for it.

Since then New Forest District Council said that about 1,000 had been recaptured, shot or run over. Such has been the panic that local residents will stop at nothing to protect themselves and their pets.

One fugitive met his match in 83-year-old holidaymaker Barbara Berry. When she found it attacking Mr Biggles, her shih tzu dog, she swiftly doused it in salad dressing and chased it off with a hockey stick.

Elsewhere, 10 mink came to a sticky end at the hands of a farmer's wife armed with a shovel. In Burley, two miles from the mink farm, Jeanette Moore spotted one drinking from her watering can and slammed another can on top.

Geoff Wiltshire, manager of a Ringwood gun shop, said he had sold 25,000 air pellets in two days and many air rifles. However, when two ladies in their late seventies tried to buy rifles, he drew the line and redirected them to the local gamekeeper.