Two stray goats have managed to evade capture as a major operation was launched involving eight RSPCA officers, PCSOs and council wardens following public reports of their whereabouts.
Animal welfare experts have spent days trying to rescue the stray goats which have been spotted in Hartlepool and East Durham.
A major operation was launched when the pair were spotted today, which led to several officers from the RSPCA, joined by police and council staff, in a bid to catch them in Blackhall Colliery.
But they managed to escape again and RSPCA chiefs say they will be monitoring the goats over the weekend and plan to develop a strategy to catch them next week.
The goats have been described as 'very agile' and the RSPCA added that it is a 'very difficult rescue' due to the terrain, amount of area the goats are covering and the size and speed of the animals.
RSPCA chief inspector Mark Gent said: “We got some information that the goats were next to a busy road, Coast Road in Blackhall Colliery, this afternoon so we went straight there to try to catch them.
“Eight RSPCA officers, PCSOs from the police and council wardens were all at the scene along with a horse box and pens but the goats - who are very agile - managed to escape.
“We’ll be monitoring the goats over the weekend, while we work on a number of ideas and options to try again next week.
“Due to the terrain, amount of area the goats are covering and the size and speed of the animals we’re dealing with this is proving to be a very difficult rescue.
“We’d like to say thank you to the public for keeping us informed on the goats’ movements and for keeping away from them.”
It is not known where they have come from but all efforts to catch them so far have been unsuccessful.
On Wednesday, Hartlepool Borough Council Public Protection staff and the RSPCA spent around two hours trying to catch the goats after they were seen spotted in Spion Kop cemetery at Central Estate.
They moved on to the beach and headed up towards Crimdon. The search resumed on Thursday when officers spent all morning looking for them without any joy.
The RSPCA say the goats are large and seem to be healthy older animals, but have not let anyone get close enough to them before they make a run for it.
They are urging anyone who sees the goats to contact them and not to approach them due to their large horns.
Mr Gent added: "We continue to urge the public to stay away from the goats and to call us if they do see them on 0300 1234 999."