COMETS falling onto neutron stars have been suggested1-4 as a cause of γ-ray bursts. In the original form of the idea1,2, it was assumed that the neutron star remained at the centre of the Oort cloud of comets belonging to its progenitor, so that bursts would be infrequent. Here it is noted that a neutron star may well acquire a large velocity at birth, causing it to drift through the Oort cloud. As it crossed the most densely populated regions, γ-ray bursts would occur frequently. Young supernova remnants may therefore be the site of some of the observed bursts, particularly the less energetic, more rapidly recurring type known as soft-γ-ray repeaters5. SN 1987A may become a source of γ-ray bursts in a matter of decades.