Sheep on the roundabout in Birstall
Sheep on the roundabout in Birstall

People must have thought they had gone baa-rmy on seeing a flock of sheep grazing happily on a busy roundabout.

The animals had somehow made it on to the roundabout near Junction 27 retail park at Birstall - all the way from a farm near Gomersal. And they were having a field day!

Farmer William Warren was stunned to discover that 32 of his sheep had fled their field and were grazing on the roundabout near Ikea.

Mr Warren, 23, whose family has farmed at Church Lane in Gomersal for more than 200 years, said he feared the sheep had escaped after poachers cut a hole in the fence to their field. The flock then braved a mile-long trek before settling on the roundabout. Bus passenger Julie Warszylewics was just one who couldn’t believe her eyes and took phone pictures to prove it actually happened.

“I was on the bus to Leeds about midday when we saw sheep on the smaller roundabout near Junction 27,” she said. “Highways Agency and police cars were there but the officials looked as if they didn’t know what to do. Then they started closing the road.

“People on the bus were laughing. We had never seen anything like it. We were held up for quite a while, then police waved us through. The sheep were still there though.”

Julie, who lives in Birstall, added: “What a start to the day. Such a shock to see it. That road is so busy, how could they have even got to the roundabout? Bless them!”

It wasn’t such a laughing matter for retail park manager Denis Copeland. He said trade had been affected.

“Luckily, it happened in the morning,” he said. “Had it been in the afternoon there would have been much more impact as that is when we get most visitors. As it was, we had about 90 minutes disruption.”

A police spokesman said officers took calls that the sheep had been seen in car parks and near the M62 slip-road.

“We contained the animals while finding out that they had escaped from nearby land,” he said. The owner of the sheep then arranged for them to be transported to safety.”