Police in North Yorkshire have located and seized more than 400 suspected stolen animals.
Dogs, sheep, goats, rabbits, turkeys, ducks and chickens are being looked after in secure locations with police now hoping to return them to their rightful owners.
It comes after officers from North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce found a man in suspicious circumstances on land in the Thirsk area on Friday (12 October 2018).
Detectives say about 30 live turkeys were found in a pickup truck at the scene, and a large number of other animals were then located at the premises.
About 90 sheep and goats of different breeds
About 80 ducks of different breeds
About 180 poultry
A vet attended to check on the welfare of the animals, and sadly one of the goats and two of the turkeys had to be put down.
Two border collie dogs which had previously been reported stolen from an address in Lancashire were also located, and will be reunited with their rightful owners.
The 42-year-old man, from the Ripon area, was arrested on suspicion of the theft of animals, money laundering and breaching an order disqualifying him from keeping animals.
He has been released under investigation while police enquiries continue.
Officers are in particular trying to locate the owners of 11 Swaledale tup lambs, and speak to anyone who lost or sold 30 turkeys on or around Friday.
“We really need the public to pull together with this one, and help us get the word out there, as we suspect that not all of the animals will be stolen from the North Yorkshire area. “The sheer volume of animals makes this a complex investigation. Our priority has been to ensure that the animals are safe and well. We are working closely with the RSPCA as our enquiries continue, as we look to restore any stolen property to its rightful owners as quickly as possible. “We are now speaking to the NFU and the farming community to help us establish the ownership of these animals. Thankfully, the owners of the two collie dogs are ‘over the moon’ to be reunited with their beloved dogs.”
Anyone with any information that could assist the investigation is asked to email email@example.com quoting reference number 12180191078.