A SHEEP had a close shave after jumping into a Black Country canal.

The Cheviot ewe, which is believed to have been rustled from a farm in Clent Hills, wandered into Billinghams Garden and Building Supplies yard in Cradley Road, Netherton, on Monday.

Staff couldn't baa-lieve their eyes and tried to corner the ewe but in a bid to evade capture, she dived into the water and started to swim off.

A rescue mission ensued and once she was fished out of the canal, Dudley Council's Environmental Health team sprang into action.

They arranged for the authority's highways team to transport the ewe to Brockswood Animal Sanctuary in Sedgley, where she was kept in quarantine until her owner could be traced.

Steve Austin, a volunteer at the Catholic Lane sanctuary, said: "She got to us at about 4pm and we got her checked over.

"She had no visible cuts, was eating and was a good weight. She had an ear tag and had been recently sheered too."

Mr Austin said he received a phone call from the council this morning (Wednesday) to say that the sheep had come from Brecon in Wales before being moved to Hereford and was finally traced to a farm at Clent Hills.

He continued: "They managed to get in touch with the farmer who said he'd had several stolen from his collection. "She must have got away some how but how she ended up in Netherton, we'll never know!"

But all's wool that ends wool and Mr Austin is now awaiting a call from the farmer to reunite the ewe with her flock.