Farmers urged to be vigilant following sheep theft

Sheep in field
Norette Ferns

Farmers are being urged to be vigilant following the theft of 450 sheep from a farm in Moffat earlier this week.

Detectives in Dumfries and Galloway are appealing for information following this large-scale theft of around 450 in-lamb cheviot ewes valued at £60,000.

The theft took place between 5pm on Sunday 17 April and 5pm on Monday 18 April from an area north of the A708 near Grey Mares Tail in Moffat. Large vehicles would have been needed to move this number of sheep by road and it is hoped that someone with information will come forward.

Detective Inspector Scott Young from Dumfries Police Office said today:

"The theft of such a large amount of sheep would have required careful planning and obviously there must have been vehicles used. The grazing land the sheep were on covers several thousand acres north of the A708 Moffat to Selkirk road near to Greymares Tail in Moffat.

"At this time I would urge anyone who saw anybody acting suspiciously in this area between the times stated, or anyone with information that may assist our police investigation to contact Dumfries Police Office through the non-emergency number 101. Alternatively CRIMESTOPPERS can be contacted on 0800 555 111, where anonymity can be maintained."

NFU Scotland urges farmers and members of the public to report any suspicious activity, noting down registration numbers and descriptions where possible.

Gemma Thomson, Legal and Technical Policy Manager for NFU Scotland, commented:

"The frequency and scale of sheep rustling in Scotland seems to be on the increase. The logistics involved in a theft of this scale would suggest that this was pre-meditated, which is worrying for the industry.

"We urge farmers to be on their guard and check their flocks more regularly than they normally would. We must remain vigilant and be aware of what’s going on around us, reporting anything suspicious to police as soon possible."

You can find out about the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime in a guest blog from Police Scotland's rural crime co-ordinator Inspector Jane Donaldson.