Quirky World: Galloping llama brings traffic to a standstill

A terrified llama on the loose in a town just outside Manchester managed to evade capture for six hours before being safely guided back home.

Video from Littleborough, a town just outside Rochdale in Greater Manchester, shows the llama galloping down a street and causing cars to slow down and stop as it marches along the middle of a road.

The llama escaped its home after apparently being scared by a dog. Calista, a female rescue llama, and is owned by a local resident.

Onlookers in the video appear confused and amused by the bizarre sight of a South American creature roaming the streets of northern England.

Calista’s owner, Dan Taylor, 48, told The Manchester Evening News that he has 19 llamas and keeps them on his family farm.

He said, “She was very frightened and it will take her a long time to get over this.

“All of them were very spooked by the dog. They are very timid and friendly creatures and this kind of thing really upsets them. I would really urge dog owners not to let their animals out loose in the area as they are not allowed in the field.”

Bank on it

A father of two who was overcharged by more than £59,000 (€76,000) while using a debit card to buy wrapping paper has received an apology from his bank.

TSB said a refund had also been credited to Dean Baker, who was erroneously charged £59,416 rather than £5.94 at a Card Factory store in Birmingham.

Mr Baker, a 32-year-old engineer from Erdington, told the Birmingham Mail that the blunder, which happened as he bought four rolls of wrapping paper and a pack of gift-tags, had left him without cash over Christmas.

A TSB spokesman said: “We apologise for the inconvenience that Mr Baker has been caused.”

Paper thin

A state agency in Minnesota is claiming the world record for the largest ball of paper.

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency built the ball — 9ft 7in tall, 32ft in circumference, and weighing 426lb — around a cardboard frame held together with paper netting.

In keeping with Guinness World Records guidelines, no adhesives or tape were used.

It was put on display at the Minnesota State Fair to show how much recyclable paper state residents throw away every 30 seconds. Anyone who missed seeing it is out of luck — the agency recycled it, turning it into cardboard for cereal boxes.

Possum stew

For most of the past 20 years, a live animal has been used in a small North Carolina town’s annual New Year’s Eve Possum Drop, but after animal rights challenges this year’s event will feature a roadkill victim or perhaps a pot of opossum stew.

The Brasstown event involves enclosing an opossum in a tinsel-covered plastic box and lowering it to the ground at midnight, then releasing the animal. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says the lights, noise and crowd can harm an opossum’s nerves and health.

A judge ruled earlier this month that organiser Clay Logan could use a live opossum if he got a state permit, but Mr Logan said he did not have time and if he does not use a roadkill opossum or stew, it’ll be something similar.

He said he used a dead possum once previously because of legal challenges.

You’ve nailed it

A Pennsylvania town planned to nail its New Year’s Eve and bicentennial celebrations by dropping some major hardware.

A newspaper reports that West Fairview planned to drop a 7ft-tall nail as the clock ticked down last night. Artists constructed the nail out of wood.

The 50lb symbol pays homage to the defunct Harrisburg Nail Works, a mill that once employed many residents. West Fairview is across the Susquehanna River from the state capital.

Organisers say the event will also commemorate the town’s 200th anniversary in 2015. The inaugural nail drop joins a host of creative New Year’s Eve traditions in neighbouring towns, such as the dropping of a giant wrench in Mechanicsburg and a huge pickle in Dillsburg.

Bum excuse

A would-be pizza shop robber was caught thanks to a roll of toilet paper at his home, police in Pennsylvania said.

Officers in Uniontown said 29-year-old Eric Frey tried to rob Michael Maria’s Pizza by handing an employee a note written on toilet paper which read: “I have a gun. Give me $300.”

Police arrived before Frey could leave because an employee hit a panic button.

Frey told officers he was forced to commit the robbery by a large, bearded man with a gun who accosted him in a nearby alleyway, but officers said a search of Frey’s apartment wiped out that explanation. They found a newly opened roll of toilet paper with the pen impression from Frey’s note on an outer sheet.


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