IF anyone in the Marlborough area has lost a large black pig they should get in touch with the Earl of Cardigan.

The huge stray sow has taken up residence in his garden office and he's hoping the owner will take it away before it wrecks any more of his lawn.

The sow has been squatting in an outbuilding at the earl’s home in the middle of Savernake Forest, after rampaging through his garden and leaving huge ruts in the lawn as it searches for food.

The pig first emerged last Wednesday when dog-walkers came across it in the forest and posted on Facebook a hazy photograph of it running away.

There then followed much social media discussion as to whether it was a pig or a wild boar, which was resolved when a resident living near the forest posted that she knew for certain that it was a pig as it was in her garden, “destroying everything”.

By Thursday morning the pig had decided to go up in the world and had moved on to Savernake Lodge, home of the Earl of Cardigan.

The earl was astonished to see the large porker trotting loose on his lawn. But he managed to corral it after it wandered into a stable and he quickly slammed the door behind it.

He then contacted the police and local farmers to try discover if anyone had lost a pig, but nobody has reported one missing.

The next day, his daughter Sophie’s eighth birthday, the earl took her out to the stable to show her the pig and as he opened the stable door the sow barged past them and ran off.

It later re-emerged in a garden office, where it has now taken up residence, but runs away every time the earl attempts to get close enough to catch it again.

The earl, who speculated that it is possible that the pig is a pet which has been dumped in the forest, told the Gazette & Herald: “I am completely appalled at the damage that this pig has done to my garden.

“I hope that someone reading this will know whose animal it is and will please come and take it away.

“When I showed the pig to my daughter on her birthday she thought it was a birthday present. She would like to keep it as a pet, but I am afraid that is out of the question.”

The sow is believed to be a Berkshire, a rare breed of distinguished pedigree.

The British Pig Association said the Berkshire is the oldest-known pedigree pig in Britain, being first recorded in the 17th Century although it was then a much larger animal.

The modern Berkshire was “improved” in the late 18th and 19th centuries by the introduction of breeding with an Asian variety.

The breed became popular during the 19th and first half of the 20th century but declined in numbers when the emphasis in pig farming turned to bacon production and “white” pigs.

The BPA added: “The Berkshire breed also known as the ‘Lady’s pig’ is an excellent ‘starter pig’ for the domestic keeper.

“It takes some beating offering, as it does, great personality, friendly disposition, manageable size and some of the tastiest meat around.”