Vehicle checks to prevent sheep rustling
POLICE will be carrying out checks on vehicles transporting livestock as part of an operation to crack down on sheep rustling in Lancashire.
The move follows a number of incidents across the county over recent weeks, where high value livestock has been stolen from farms.
Thieves stole 42 ewes – the majority of which were with lamb – from a farm in Charnock Richard between December 3 and 4.
The animals were worth an estimated £6,000. 14 ewes were also injured and left behind by the thieves.
A farmer’s animals were also targeted in a field off Lostock Lane, Bamber Bridge, overnight on December 11. Two pregnant ewes, worth £1,000, were butchered and their meat was taken.
An attempt was also made to steal sheep from a farm in Carnforth in November – although poor weather conditions made it difficult for the thieves to drive through the muddy field and they left empty handed.
As a result, officers are stepping up patrols in rural areas and are asking farmers and other residents to be vigilant for any suspicious vehicles or activity. Stop checks will also be made on vehicles carrying livestock - particularly those travelling at night time or on motorways.
Those in the vehicles will be required to provide the correct paper work to show that the animals belong to them or that they are transporting them with the owner’s permission.
Lancashire Constabulary’s wildlife officer, Mark Thomas, said: “We are aware from our force intelligence work that sheep rustling is also occurring in our neighbouring counties and we believe that criminals are travelling across the borders to target farms, using dogs to round up sheep and then herd them into livestock carriers.
“The farmers who have been targeted have suffered large financial losses, which will have a detrimental effect on their livelihoods. It is also a distressing experience for both them and the animals.”
Anyone with information about rural crime is asked to contact police on 101 – the new non-emergency contact number that has replaced 0845 1 25 35 45.