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Hundreds of sheep stolen from farms in Somerset

Hundreds of sheep have been stolen in the last six weeks. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Nearly 500 sheep have been stolen from Somerset farms in the last six weeks in what police say is an "unusual" spike in sheep-rustling.

The thefts include nearly 150 lambs and ewes from near Langport in the middle of the night, nearly 130 from a farm near Baltonsborough and sheep's skins found blocking a land drain in Glastonbury.

Cows are also being targeted, with a cattle lorry from East Huntspill found burnt out in Langport, and cows stolen from a shed in Ilchester.

Farmers are losing tens of thousands of pounds from these thefts, and police say the meat of these animals could be sold illegally. They hope a nationwide appeal for information will help the investigation.

It’s sickening what these mindless thieves do. The sheep have probably suffered in transit and not been killed humanly either.

– Anonymous victim of sheep-rustling

Wurzels rework hit song for farm safety campaign

The Wurzels have reworked their hit song "Combine Harvester" to raise awareness of farm safety Credit: Yellow Wellies UK

Somerset band The Wurzels have released a new version of their classic 'Combine Harvester' song.

It's part of a new campaign by the National Farmers Union to reduce death and injury in the workplace.

The agricultural industry is the UK's most dangerous occupation - figures from the Health and Safety Executive show 27 people died in farm accidents in the year to April 2014.

Large crowds at Dorset County Show

Large crowds have attended the Dorset County Show Credit: ITV News

The first day of the Dorset County Show has attracted large crowds.

Sixty thousand people are expected at the showground near Dorchester over the weekend. Judges say there's been a high standard of entry in the horticulture and livestock classes.

There are also food tents, trade stands and many other displays.

The show's secretary, Sam Mackenzie-Green, says it's the diversity that helps attract so many people:

"We're a combination things. It's the main ring attractions, we've got Bolddog Lings which people are really excited about seeing. The National Vegetabel Society's national championships again which appeals to a whole other group of people. And we have so much food and drink, local food and drink, I think there is something for everyone".


Summer closes as Dorset County Show opens

Livestock shows are just one of the attractions at the show. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Preparations are underway for the start of the Dorset County Show.

The event, which traditionally celebrates the end of harvest, is one of the last shows on the south west agricultural calendar.

The ground near Dorchester will open to the public tomorrow and Sunday.

Farmers meet to discuss West Country's Beef crisis

A meeting was held today aimed at trying to solve the latest crisis facing the West's beef industry - Farmers say they're struggling and some are even considering giving up.

Prices have plummeted in recent months, with a 20% fall in the price per kilo compared with this time last year. The cut the farmers get from supermarkets has also gone down to less than 50%. It's led to losses of up to £200 per cow.

Not surprisingly there are now fears that an increasing number will quit the industry. Bob Cruwys sent this report.

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