IT’S not unusual to see dogs on leads but one Hereford animal lover has been delighting onlookers by taking another four-legged creature for regular walks in High Town.

Derrick Murphy, 66, said it was ‘astonishing’ how quickly photographs of him walking with Biscuit – one of the eight alpacas he owns – appeared on the internet after he began to take his pet for a stroll.

Mr Murphy, an author, moved to the county with his wife Janet two years ago and has slowly been growing his alpaca herd.

He said: “A couple of months after we arrived we bought three alpacas – a male and two females – and then bought two more, a mother and a daughter.”

Primarily used in the Andes region for their fur and meat, the alpacas that live here are often used as protection for sheep.

The first three alpacas the couple bought were Toby, Molly and Dotty. They were followed by Millie and her daughter, Biscuit.

Three have been born since then – Bonny, Poppet and Tiffen. The animals are wormed annually and have had appropriate vaccinations.

Mr Murphy said Biscuit had a limp when he bought her so he began to walk “just up and down the lane” to strengthen her leg.

These trips grew in distance before the jaunts included walks around the city centre.

“When I first did it there was a Pied Piper effect and about 15 people were following with their iPhones,” he added.

“It was also an experiment in social media – the speed it got round was astonishing.

“And now when I walk through town people say ‘hello Biscuit’.”

Mr Murphy says the “placid animal” is good around people and interested to explore new surroundings.

“Walking them is rare,” he added. “They can be fazed by lots of people but the good thing about Biscuit is she seems to almost relish it.

“Several people have taken selfies with her and she doesn’t mind at all.”

Mr Murphy now plans to launch a website dedicated to his alpacas – so that shoppers who may have yet to catch a glimpse of Biscuit can get to know the animals from the comfort of their homes.