Belfast Telegraph

Portrush man takes his pet sheep to Lidl

By Chris McCullough

Perhaps he was on the hunt for a baaa-rgain - but it was no surprise this unexpected visitor got some sheepish looks.

This was the unusual sight that greeted customers in a Northern Ireland supermarket at the weekend.

Shoppers and staff were stunned on Saturday when a man brought his pet ewe along to get his groceries.

Mystified customers of Lidl on Glenmanus Road in Portrush watched as the man led his pet around the aisles on a leather leash before he was challenged by staff.

In the end an employee escorted the man and his woolly friend out of the store, but not before the self-professed shepherd questioned the retailer's policy on which pets were allowed to enter the premises.

Customers at the Lidl store took to social media to air their views on the sheep walking among them while they did their weekend shopping.

John Junk, the owner of Belfast Books Ltd on York Road in Belfast, was looking for some essential barbecue supplies when the drama unfolded.

He said: "My wife, myself, our nine-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son were up camping near Portrush, and had planned a barbecue for 6pm on Saturday with some friends and their children.

"That took us to Lidl on the Glenmanus Road, a store we'd never been in before.

"After getting some BBQ supplies, my wife and daughter went back to get some mini burger buns we'd forgotten.

"At that point they saw the sheep guy come through the front doors.

"Locals seem to have difficulty processing what was happening, and one middle-aged woman rubbed her eyes in disbelief.

"As a female Lidl employee headed toward him, my wife and daughter warned the shepherd that there may be trouble ahead. He laughed and quipped: 'It said no dogs, so I'll be dead-on love'.

"After he'd been asked to leave we spoke to the urban shepherd outside. He claimed that his charge was one of triplets, and he'd had her from she was three days old, and had saved her from the abattoir.

"The lad seemed to have a genuine affection for the animal, and despite having some drink taken, it didn't look like the animal was in any need of rescue."

A store detective accompanied the man and the sheep outside the store.

The PSNI later said a man had been arrested on suspicion of a number of offences. These included common assault and disorderly behaviour following what they said was an altercation at a supermarket in Portrush.

The man has since been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

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