This lit­tle piggy

Want­ing A Place In The Dung, next-door’s 20st lodger was help­ing him­self to Marie’s well-kept flower bor­ders –and then her legs!

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… mauled me!

Climb­ing out of my car on the drive, I thought I was hal­lu­ci­nat­ing. ‘Oink, oink.’ There it was again! Was there a pig about? ‘Can’t be,’ I thought. I live on a res­i­den­tial street in Wal­sall, West Mid­lands, not in the coun­try. ‘Oink!’

What the? The sound was def­i­nitely com­ing from Nick Jack­son’s, next-door.

Was his bloomin’ noisy par­rot im­per­son­at­ing a pig?

Go­ing in­side, I went up­stairs to peer through the bed­room win­dow into his back gar­den. ‘Oh, my God,’ I gasped. There was an ac­tual pig snuf­fling around! It was the size of a Labrador, with pink and black spots.

‘Please, no,’ I sighed.

It was June 2013, and the ar­rival of a porker was the last thing I needed.

Life was full-on, car­ing for my mum, Mar­garet, 87, all day at her place. My home of 30 years was my sanc­tu­ary.

I en­joyed ly­ing in bed, read­ing a li­brary book and relaxing.

Of­ten that was in­ter­rupted by next-door’s squawk­ing par­rot or bark­ing Great Dane. Now I had an oink­ing pig to con­tend with!

A few days later, I walked out of my back door into the gar­den to find holes in my fence.

The pig had ob­vi­ously butted his head against the pan­els. Maybe he’d been an­gry be­cause he’d smelled my ba­con sarnie!

Ir­ri­tated, I put a note through Nick’s front door ask­ing him to keep his new pet away from my prop­erty.

‘Hammy didn’t mean any harm,’ Nick said, turn­ing up at my door later. ‘He’s only a mi­cro pig, so won’t grow much more.’

I roped in my brother, John, 56, to re­pair the fence. He laid pig-height gravel boards along the side.

‘What about this sec­tion?’ John asked. Nick had built the pig a wooden hut bor­der­ing the fur­thest sec­tion of my fence.

‘That’s prob­a­bly all right,’ I said. ‘The hut looks sturdy.’

It was small, though. There was hardly room to swing a cat. And for­get be­ing a mi­cro pig – Hammy just kept grow­ing. Soon I reck­oned he weighed 20st!

And he had sharp, white tusks above his snout, like a wild boar.

‘He should be in a field, not a paved back­yard lit­tered with old wash­ing ma­chines and smashedup bi­cy­cles,’ I grum­bled to Mum.

Some­times I watched the pig, shuf­fling about look­ing bored, from my bed­room win­dow. I felt sorry for him – but not enough to give up my ba­con butties!

‘Hello, Hammy,’ the chil­dren from the lo­cal school cried, hang­ing over the top of Nick’s fence. A nov­elty for them I sup­posed, but I felt like I was liv­ing next door to a zoo!

Over the years, Hammy’s pooey stench wafted my way ev­ery time I had my morn­ing cuppa on the pa­tio.

I com­plained to the coun­cil but all they did was put a let­ter through Nick’s door about hy­giene. Noth­ing changed – he was ob­vi­ously as happy as a pig in muck, but I cer­tainly wasn’t.

Then, in Oc­to­ber 2017,

I no­ticed a small hole, about the size of a let­ter box, in my fourth fence panel – the one Hammy’s home was built against.

I stomped out to have a look – and gagged. I could see – and smell – right into the pig’s hut. He’d smashed it up, and straw, wood and poo were all mulched to­gether in a stink­ing mess.

Sud­denly, a pair of lit­tle piggy eyes ap­peared in the hole – star­ing di­rectly at me. ‘Good boy,’ I gasped, shocked. Close up, through the smashedup fence, Hammy looked like Jack Ni­chol­son in The Shin­ing. Heeeeere’s Hammy! Scared, I ran back to my home and rang a lo­cal fenc­ing com­pany.

‘Help!’ I yelped. ‘I need some con­crete gravel boards to pro­tect me from next-door’s pig.’

The man was sym­pa­thetic to my plight – but couldn’t de­liver the boards for a few days…

‘Get them as fast as you can,’ I pleaded. ‘It’s an emer­gency.’

Next day – 4 Oc­to­ber 2017 – I was star­tled from read­ing in bed by a load of bang­ing and crash­ing in my gar­den.

It sounded like a de­mo­li­tion derby!

I jumped up, opened my cur­tains – and screamed.

My gar­den shed was up­side down and all the tools scat­tered across the lawn while my ter­ra­cotta plant pots were shat­tered. My bor­ders of daf­fodil, tulip and blue­bell bulbs had been churned up by what looked like a 10-ton truck.

And, stand­ing proudly in the chaos, was the pig, look­ing for the next thing to de­stroy.

Fight­ing back tears, I pulled my dress­ing gown on and, grab­bing a broom, ran out of the back door to face the in­truder. When I was the broom’s length away from him, I gave him a lit­tle prod. He just stared at me, de­fi­ant, so I gave him an­other shove, harder this time.

‘Get out of my gar­den,’ I yelled. But Hammy, still star­ing, didn’t budge. Then he put his head down, white tusks glint­ing like knives, and charged me as if he was in a Span­ish bull­ring. ‘No!’ I screamed, as the weight of his body slammed into me and a tusk dug into my left shin. Des­per­ate, I hob­bled to­wards where my car was parked. My gar­den was paved and backed on to a road, so I kept my Skoda there.

Be­tween it and the wall was a space for me to hide, too skinny for Hammy.

But, just as I was about to reach safety, the pig charged again, plung­ing his tusks into my right thigh.

‘Stay away from me,’ I croaked, slid­ing into the gap. The pig just am­bled off, blood smeared on his tusks, as if noth­ing had hap­pened. ‘Marie? Are you OK?’ My next-door neigh­bour on the other side, Trevor…

‘The pig’s at­tacked me!’ I screamed. ‘Call an am­bu­lance!’

Blood pumped from my legs like wa­ter from a tap and the skin hung down in flaps.

I had to get away from that pig, so I gin­gerly opened the gate, climbed into my car and drove on to the cul-de-sac.

That caught the pig’s at­ten­tion – he fol­lowed me!

Heart ham­mer­ing, I parked up, but Hammy had now es­caped. He lum­bered past me, look­ing for fresh havoc to wreak.

So, tak­ing my chance, I stag­gered back in­side to change out of my bloody night­gown.

Then Trevor rang my door­bell.

‘Am­bu­lance is on its way,’ he said. ‘Come round ours, Marie – you can’t stay here on your own. You’re white with shock.’

Five min­utes later, two paramedics ar­rived at Trevor’s, where I was bleed­ing all over the car­pet.

On the way to The Manor Hospi­tal in Wal­sall, they phoned the po­lice to re­port a pig on the loose.

Just as well – I didn’t want him at­tack­ing any­one else!

I was given a tetanus jab, and needed im­me­di­ate surgery to clean my wounds and stitch my legs back to­gether…

When I woke up in re­cov­ery, I was on a drip.

‘You’re fine,’ a nurse told me. ‘But the hospi­tal pho­tog­ra­pher is com­ing to take pic­tures of your legs. We’ve never treated a pi­gat­tack vic­tim be­fore and it could be use­ful if we ever have to again.’

Next day, my sis­ter Liz ar­rived from Som­er­set to care for Mum while I was in­ca­pac­i­tated, and she popped round mine to clear up all the blood on my car­pets.

‘Trevor says the pig’s gone,’ she said, vis­it­ing me. Ap­par­ently he hadn’t got far be­fore sev­eral neigh­bours man­aged to shoo him back in his pen.

‘He’s been taken to a sanc­tu­ary to be re­ha­bil­i­tated.’

Nick could do with the same, I thought!

Still, when I re­turned home four days later, I was ner­vous. What pet would my neigh­bour de­cide to buy now?

A boa con­stric­tor to live on his roof ?!

I woke in the night scream­ing, haunted by flash­backs of

Hammy charg­ing me. And it took months to stop hear­ing phantom oinks com­ing from next door.

But, nearly a year on, they’ve fi­nally passed.

I have the per­ma­nent re­minders

– scars on my left shin, right knee and the in­side of my right thigh.

And on the back of my right thigh, there’s a 6in whop­per.

Me and Nick haven’t spo­ken since, but I’ve read in the lo­cal pa­per that the pig is do­ing well in the sanc­tu­ary and is some­thing of a re­formed char­ac­ter.

Sanc­tu­ary staff have changed his name to pro­tect his iden­tity so he can start a new life with a clean slate. And, de­spite ev­ery­thing, I’m glad.

It wasn’t his fault – I’d go spare if I had to live in those con­di­tions.

I hope he now re­ally is happy as a pig in muck. I’m just glad I don’t have to smell it! Marie Yates, 62, Wed­nes­bury, West Mid­lands

Nick Jack­son said at the

time, ‘I’ve had Hammy for four years and he’s good as gold. I got hold of all the cor­rect li­cences so I have ev­ery right to keep this pig. He is the friendli­est an­i­mal in the world – he sits on my grand­son’s lap and likes to cud­dle up to peo­ple. I wish I had CCTV be­cause I can’t imag­ine why he would charge any­one – that’s the first thing he’s ever done. I am sorry Marie is in hospi­tal, but there are things she could have done to avoid this.’

He charged me as if he was in a bull­ring

Lethal weapon: Hammy’s tusks gored me Hammy’s pen was a pigsty next to my neat gar­den (on the right, be­low)

I needed surgery for my ter­ri­ble wounds My scarred pins are a per­ma­nent re­minder Hammy’s happy in his new home, be­ing looked after by David Bourne

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