Revenge of the boar as herd flees hunt and wrecks town

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Shaken burghers in the quiet Bavarian country town of Veitshoechheim were left licking their wounds and counting the cost after a herd of wild boars went on the rampage.

Chaos erupted in the market town near the city of Wuerzburg when more than a dozen frightened and aggressive animals invaded the town centre after fleeing a boar hunt.

Shoppers were taken by surprise when one of the animals bulldozed its way into a fashion boutique, frightening staff and leaving a trail of destruction.

"The saleswoman got a huge shock and was forced to take refuge behind the counter," said Karl-Heinz Schmidt, a police officer. "When the animal ran back out of the shop it wrecked goods and caused about €1,000 (£680) worth of damage," he said yesterday.

Eyewitnesses said further mayhem ensued when one of the wild boars attacked a 44-year-old man in the street. He needed hospital treatment after being bitten on the leg.

Another boar knocked a 76-year-old woman off her bicycle and was then struck down and killed by a passing car. There was an estimated €5,000 worth of damage to the blood-spattered vehicle.

Police marksmen intervened after receiving dozens of phone calls from townsfolk. One of the boars was cornered in a back garden and shot dead. Another was shot and killed by police while trying to swim across the nearby river Main. "It took more than two hours before peace could be finally restored," Mr Schmidt said .

The incident was believed to be one of the most devastating attacks by wild boars on record. The animals are normally regarded as harmless and will run away from people unless provoked or cornered with young offspring.

Police attributed the aggressive behaviour to the fact that the animals were young, having been born only last spring.