Entire flock of sheep stolen in Hindon

Sheep (pixabay)

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 9:32am 13th March 2019.

220 animals have been taken from a field 'by unknown means'.

Wiltshire Police tell us the New Zealand Romney sheep disappeared at some point between February 1st and March 8th.

They're now appealing for anyone who might have seen anything suspicious in the Hindon area over that time period to get in touch with them.

If you can help, you're asked to contact officers on 101 and quote crime reference number 54190024119.

Flock of Sheep
It can be hard for farmers to immediately notice if a number of their animals have been stolen

GROWING PROBLEM:

Livestock thefts have now been reported 18 times in Wiltshire over the last five years (2014-18) and our police force say they're 'committed to tackling the issue'.

Rural Crime Officer PC Emily Thomas said:

"Wiltshire is a predominantly rural county and we understand the negative impact livestock theft has on the victims, both financially and emotionally.

"Sheep rustling is a notoriously difficult crime to investigate as there are often no lines of enquiry to pursue with no suspects identified.

"When farmers have a large flock of several hundred animals, it can be difficult to notice if some of them are missing straight away. Sometimes the theft of animals is not picked up on until the flock are rounded up and counted, this can mean a delay in reporting and no clear picture of when the theft took place."

ADVICE TO LIVESTOCK OWNERS:

The county's Trading Standards have also posted on their Facebook page about the theft, saying:

"This is not only heart breaking for the owners, but also a massive loss to their business."

Wiltshire Police's Rural Crime Team has also issued some advice:

  • Check the security of boundary fencing regularly, and ensure gates are locked
  • Make regular checks on livestock and the fields where animals are kept; vary feeding and check-up times
  • Ensure all animals are tagged and records are up to date. Tagging options include: ear tags, horn brands, freeze marking or tattooing. These all make animals more easily identifiable
  • Where possible, graze livestock in fields away from roads
  • Keep hedges, fences and gates in good repair: field gate hinges should have capping hinges so they can't be removed easily; cattle grids should be removable and locked out of position when they're not in use; use locking posts to obstruct large openings to yards
  • Ask neighbours to report any sightings of unusual vehicles loading sheep
  • Report all thefts as soon as they are noticed – do not be deterred by a lack of detail
  • Consider installing CCTV
  • Put something heavy in front of gates to make life harder for thieves
  • Don't leave trailers or anything that can be used to steal/transport the sheep
  • Don't leave keys in vehicles, even if they are in your yard
  • If animals are being kept or reared in barns or out-buildings, make sure that gates and doors are securely locked

If you're concerned about any suspicious activity around livestock in Wiltshire, you can call the police on 101, or ring 999 if a crime is in progress.

Alternatively, you can report information anonymously to the Crimestoppers dedicated rural crime reporting line by calling 0800 783 0137.

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