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A EXTRA Christmas present was delivered to one Ryedale resident when her pet sheep gave birth to twins – more than a month earlier than expected.

Trish Purnell, who runs a smallholding at West Heslerton, was expecting the new arrivals in late January.

“We had been keeping a check on the mother but it was quite a surprise when we went out on Boxing Day and saw a lamb,” she said. “Just as we were gathering that one up another appeared.”

Trish said her husband was shepherd for the West Heslerton Estate so they often took in lambs to be bottle fed and brought them up as pets.

“This is the first time one of them had given birth quite so early, although I know it does happen,” she said.

“It was a lovely extra Christmas present for us though.”