We're the SAS - er, got any food?

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The Independent Online
Once the diet of an SAS soldier was snails, worms and leaves, foraged from a hostile environment. But for some SAS hopefuls training in remote mid-Wales last week, it was more a case of "Who Dares Dines".

The soldiers, on an exercise in Brechfa Forest with orders to evade capture by 100 other soldiers equipped with dogs and helicopters, stunned locals when they appeared through the mists to ask for food.

Members of Operation Pilgrims Progress, which ended last night, were supposed to consider themselves in enemy territory and evade detection for six days as part a selection exercise for the elite regiment. But as well as requesting food, it is also claimed that one of the soldiers stopped to ask directions.

Despite assurances to the local Welsh-speaking community that they would "hardly see" the undercover troops, the area has been plagued by sightings of soldiers. Farmer David Humphreyssaid camouflaged personnel had raided his barn. "Seven soldiers with guns and a Land Rover suddenly came into the farmyard, searched the buildings and barns and then left," he says. "They never asked permission and we had already told them we didn't want them on our land.

"There have also been cases of three of them asking for food. There is a lot of concern."

"One came to the house and said he had lost his bearings," said one local man. "The telephone box which was marked on his map had been taken away because of vandals and he couldn't figure out where he was."

An Army spokesman declined to say how many of the 60 entrants survived the week without being captured.