LITTLE Patrick the micro pig might be in for some competition with the arrival of a new breeding ground for the cute pets in Burnley.

Mini-celebrity Patrick brings home the bacon at an outdoors shop in Ramsbottom, modelling for his own photoshoots and even updating fans via his own Twitter page.

But now Briercliffe-based farmer Joanne Rowe is staking a claim to the latest pets craze with her own fledgling venture.

Lancashire Micro Pigs was established with assistance from Burnley Enterprise, and Joanne has not looked back.

She said: “Demand for micro pigs is soaring and they are becoming really popular as household pets.

“They are irresistibly cute.

“They are highly intelligent, and said to be the fourth most intelligent species after man, monkey and dolphin.

"They are also good alternative pets for people with allergies.

“Lots of people are allergic to cats and dogs, but you can’t get allergies from pigs as their skin is very similar to ours, and they have hair not fur.”

The tiny porkers can live as long as 18 years and owners often remark on how clean-living they turn out to be, Joanne added.

Joanne added: “The support I’ve received from Burnley Enterprise has been invaluable to me.

“I can honestly say that I could not have done it without them”.

Her experiences are detailed in the latest issue of In Business, a newsletter produced by the borough council to give advice on industry and commerce in the Burnley area.