52 sheep have been found in a field in Somerset after being stolen and kept in poor condition.The Rural Crime team said two had to be put down at the scene after being found in Yeovil.Officers said the thieves could have transported the animals more than 300 miles and were kept in poor condition.Inspector Joanna Mines, who leads the Rural Crime Team, said: "We believe the sheep we have recovered today are stolen and their tags show that animals within this flock originated from Devon, Somerset and places as far a-field as Cumbria."Sadly they haven’t been kept in good condition recently and two had to be put down at the scene, so we will be looking at several offences in relation to animal cruelty in addition to theft."We are keen to hear from anyone who believes the animals might be theirs, or anyone who has any information that can help with our enquiries."More than 600 sheep were stolen from Avon and Somerset during the summer of 2016 with 34 calves stolen from a farm near Wells two weeks ago.'Far-reaching and long-lasting consequences'Inspector Mines added: "We understand the impact that livestock theft has on farmers and small holders. The financial and breeding implications can be far-reaching and long-lasting."From the public’s perspective there is a health and hygiene issue in relation to stolen livestock getting into the food chain. Farmers raise their animals, transport and slaughter them according to very strict guidelines which thieves are not necessarily going to adhere to. "The calves that were stolen two weeks ago had been wormed the day before, and therefore shouldn’t enter the food chain for another 49 days for example."I would urge markets and slaughterhouses to play their part. Don’t create a market for stolen livestock. We do work closely with local businesses but we ask everyone to be vigilant."The public can play their part too. We have launched a new text number for people to send information and intelligence about rural crime directly to the team, so please get in touch 81819."