A goat amnesty by Norfolk Constabulary has been welcomed by residents in King's Lynn and the surrounding area. Local officers launched their week-long amnesty, aimed at reducing 'excessive levels of goat ownership' in the region, after a period of spiralling levels of goat-related crime.
'In the wrong hands, goats can be deadly,' said Inspector Paul Durham, 'especially where kids are concerned. I would urge anyone harbouring a goat or goats, or anyone who has knowledge of the location of any hidden caches of goats or goat-handling equipment to contact us immediately. No action will be taken against those coming forward whilst our amnesty is in place, but we will be enforcing our full powers against herders, and those assisting the herders, once the week is out.'
Veterinary surgeon Mike Chambers has been advising officers and tells of the dangers that goats can pose. 'Goats can cause a wide range of problems,' he explained, 'from incessant bleating and mild clothing nibbling, right up to a full bite or even occasional butting.'
'They really do need to be handled very carefully in case they go off by accident,' he continued, 'and if anyone is taking advantage of the amnesty to get rid of any goats, I would have to say that they may be best leaving them where they are and getting professionals in to deal with them. Transporting a loaded goat by hand could have extremely unpleasant consequences and would be even more dangerous by car, especially if the boot is a carpeted type.'
Police are warning the public to be extremely vigilant where goats are concerned. 'There are some legitimate uses for properly licensed goats,' explained Inspector Durham, 'but I would suggest that if anyone is suspicious of goats being used in public, or finds a discarded goat, that they contact police immediately -- this is a genuine case for the use of 999.'
The amnesty has been put in place after a sharp rise in general goat-based criminal activity around the county along with several high-profile incidents, including the controlled explosion of a herd of fifteen goats on the outskirts of HM The Queen's Norfolk retreat at Sandringham.
'There has been a spate of recent robberies where the perpetrators were armed with goats,' said Inspector Durham. 'So far we've been lucky -- the worst injury has been an elderly woman who gently fell over her own walking cane after backing away from one of the goats whilst shouting 'get it away from me, there's some dribble on its beard!' -- but it's only a matter of time before we get some actual bruising. The criminals were lucky that we're only allowed to use bicycles around here, otherwise we'd have caught them. It took them nearly twenty minutes to get their goats out of the fruit and veg display in Morrisons.'