Reunited, the pigs that really flew

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THE Tamworth Two, the now internationally famous pigs who have been on the run from a West Country abattoir for the past week, were reunited yesterday, bringing their great escape to a happy conclusion.

Sundance, the boar who had eloped with his lady-friend - unfortunately christened Butch earlier in the week, owing to confusion over the sow's gender - had been finally captured on Friday night with the aid of an RSPCA marksman.

After spending the night recovering from the effects of a tranquilliser dart at a vet's in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, he was chauffeur-driven by the Daily Mail to join Butch at an animal sanctuary at Kington Langley, near Chippenham.

After a comic chase across fields and rivers, featuring wild packs of reporters and television crews, a SWAT team from the newspaper saved her bacon on Thursday.

As it emerged last night that the porcine pair are to be immortalised as soft toys by a Basildon company, their owner, Arnoldo Dijulio, who had condemned them to die at Newman's slaughterhouse in Malmesbury, denied having accepted pounds 15,000 from the Daily Mail for the pair. On Thursday, 8 January, the rindy refuseniks had given the slaughterhouse the slip by wriggling through a hole in the perimeter fence, swimming across the flooded River Avon and wobbling in a northerly direction as fast as their trotters could carry them. By that weekend, the finely honed snouts of Fleet Street had picked up the scent, and, within days, a ragged but highly mobile posse of hacks, villagers, TV crews, police officers and animal rights activists were in hot pursuit.

As chase became crusade, so the price of the pair rose from pounds 50 each to, at one point, the truffle-snuffling pounds 15,000 reportedly offered to save the beasts from the chopper. By Wednesday, boundless acres of Wiltshire agri-desert were alive with the squelch of tabloid reporters' Gucci slip- ons.

After the Daily Mail nabbed Butch, rival reporters attempted entrapment - in the form of Samantha, a comely, 60-stone Tamworth - to lure Sundance from his lair. Despite assurances from an expert that hogs are hot for it, Sundance decided that a Wiltshire thicket on a wet winter weekday was neither the time nor the place for love, and Samantha left. Hours later, he was tracked down to a garden where, after being pursued until dark, he once more scuttled away triumphant.

Finally, on Friday, the Tamworth One met his Waterloo in the shape of the RSPCA marksman.