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Sheep rustling: advice for farmers

Following a dramatic rise in the number of incidents of sheep rustling in the region over the last fortnight, here are a few guidelines in keeping a flock safe from thieves.

Advice to farmers:

Make sure outbuildings and barns are secure. Credit: ITV News
  • ensure that your animals are tagged
  • boundaries and gates should be kept in good order and wherever possible locked
  • 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 you are keeping or rearing animals in barns or out-buildings, make sure that gates and doors are locked

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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