The mystery of a man seen herding goats through the streets of Croydon has been solved by the Croydon Guardian.
The goat man has been the talk of the town after he was pictured walking his five goats on a patch of land near Reeves Corner tram stop last week.
Onlookers stopped and stared, and Twitter has been awash with rumours of the 50-year-old, who takes his animals to graze the green around Croydon Minster, overgrown scrubland along the tram line and even into Wandle Park.
The goat herder is IT specialist with Croydon Adult Learning and Training, Patrick Guilfoyle, who converted his residential garden into a farmyard, complete with water troughs and hanging hay dispensers, turning the ground floor of his home into a makeshift barn.
Originally from Ireland, Mr Guilfoyle moved to Croydon 15 years ago and, despite having no farming experience at all, took the extraordinary step of rearing goats in June last year following some success keeping bees.
He said: “It was just an idea and the more I thought about it the more the idea grew.
“They are herd animals so at first I thought I’d get three, but you know how it is, you go out to buy a family car and come home with a sports car.
“People have been very supportive in general. I’ve had a couple of run-ins with dog walkers. One of my goats was attacked in Wandle Park, but in general people like it.
“Living in Croydon you have people here who have probably never even seen a live goat.”
Mr Guifoyle is keen to stress his animals, two females and three castrated males, are not pets but livestock.
He said: “I keep them for meat. I brought them from a farm in Ashford, Kent, where they were destined for the pot, but the farmer had bottle reared them and couldn’t face doing it himself.
“It will probably be in the next couple of months. I’ll take the males to the abattoir. I’ve no experience of slaughtering, and I say if I was to be killed I’d want it done by an expert who could do it in the most humane way.”
Will he shed a tear for them after a year spent together?
He added: “I won’t know until the actual day but I deliberately didn’t give them names because you can’t see them as pets.”
The budding farmer plans to sell the meat to friends before investing in a breeding male later this year.