MARSDEN'S cheeky sheep have become international celebrities with their commando rolls and great escapes.
But scientists admitted today: We're not surprised.
Boffins don't doubt that the sheep, bored of plain old grass, have figured out how to beat cattle grids by rolling over them to invade the village to chew on tastier plants in people's gardens.
At the Babraham Institute, near Cambridge, sheep have been proving for years they are far from woolly-minded.
Researcher Mike Hinton said that although no-one had yet caught the sheep on film performing one of their commando-style rolls over the grids he is never surprised by what the animals get up to.
He added: "We have been looking at the behaviour of sheep at the institute for more than 20 years and have discovered some startling things about them.
"In many ways their brains are similar to human ones. Understanding them more will help us understand ourselves.
"Sheep can recognise at least 50 faces of fellow sheep from their flock. They can also recognise 10 human faces and they retain that information for at least two years.
"I am not surprised the sheep have found out how to get over the grids. One will have got caught in the grids, then rolled over to get free and the others will have copied," said Mr Hinton .
"At the moment, we have got our sheep pressing buttons in order to get food.
"It certainly raises question about the way we treat them. I think we should consider less stressful ways of transporting sheep."
But it is not just Marsden's sheep who are able to out-think the humans who try to keep them penned into one place.
Eric Robertson, of Penistone Road, Waterloo, saw Olympic sheep when he was in Boston Spa, near Wetherby, in 1987.
He said: "I could not believe my eyes when I saw sheep running straight at electric fences surrounding a field of seed and somersaulting over them.
"They put their heads down as they ran, then jumped and rolled over the electric fence.
"The farmer said he was fed up of them. The day before they had swum across the River Wharfe in search of food. It took him half the day to round them up."
After the Examiner first told of Marsden's athletic sheep the international media pounced on the story.
The woolly jumpers have appeared on GMTV and in the Daily Mail. They were even discussed in the high-brow arena of Radio 4's Today programme.
Newspapers in Africa and Australia have also carried the story.
But ingenious sheep are nothing new in Marsden. For years they've been amusing and exasperating villagers with their antics.