A shock litter of piglets in Potters Bar is searching for a new home.

One-year-old pigs Charlotte and Wilber were taken to the RSPCA’s Southridge animal centre, in Packhorse Lane Ridge, a few months ago. Now the porcine pair have surprised staff with an unexpected litter of piglets – even though Wilber is castrated.

“The only way this could have happened is if Charlotte fell pregnant just before she came here,” said animal centre manager Anna White.

“I couldn’t believe it when I came in to see them early one morning and found her lying on her side surrounded by newborn pink piglets.”

Centre staff have named the piglets after celebrity chefs, including Jamie Oliver, who this year championed the cause of British pigs in his programme “Jamie Saves Our Bacon”.

He is also supporting the RSPCA’s year-long “Rooting for Pigs” campaign.

Now Jamie and his siblings Oliver, Hugh, Fearnley, Anthony, Worral, Ainsley, Harriet and Marguerite are in desperate need of a good home.

Ms White said: “Our centres run at full capacity all the time, and with donations dropping off because of the credit crunch, the sad fact is that we cannot afford to keep them indefinitely.

“I have been desperately ringing around sanctuaries to see if there is any room, but everyone is struggling at the moment. Our only hope is that we can find people who have the space and expertise to raise Jamie and his brothers and sisters.”

The RSPCA stressed that pigs are highly social animals and anyone wishing to take on Jamie and his siblings should be prepared to take on more than one.

Although farmers or smallholders may be best suited to taking on the piglets, the RSPCA will consider all applications.

Owning and caring for a pig requires a great deal of commitment, time, skill, money, sufficient land on which to house the animal, specialist veterinary care when necessary, and compliance with the legislation governing keeping a pig, the society added.

Anyone interested in Jamie or his siblings can contact the RSPCA Southridge animal centre on 0300 123 0704.