Authorities built five miles of electric fence to keep wild elephants out of villages in Assam state following a spate of deadly incidents, including one in which pachyderms sucked up rice liquor and went on a drunken rampage that killed five people, an official said Saturday.

Deb Roy, a forestry director in the northeastern Indian state, said the government hopes the fence will do a better job of keeping elephants out of towns than the traditional methods of beating drums and setting off firecrackers to scare away the animals.Roy said incidents of elephant visits to villages had increased in recent weeks because the animals are attracted to the rice crops being harvested by local Hindus.

During one such foray April 23, elephants were lured into a remote settlement 1,140 miles east of New Delhi by the smell of a local rice beer being brewed. The 13 pachyderms consumed the booze and then went on a drunken rampage in search of more hooch.