A police investigation is underway after livestock rustlers stole eight Border Leicester lambs from a field in North Yorkshire.
Police are appealing for witnesses and information after eight pedigree sheep were stolen from a farm near Stokesley.
The incident is thought to have happened between 1 and 7 October 2020, North Yorkshire Police said.
The stolen Border Leicesters, distinctive in appearance with large upright ears, are a mixture of male and female.
In the left ear they all bear the tattoo BLA45, while in the right ear they carry tattooed serial numbers prefixed with ‘S’.
The full list is as follows: BLA45 S3 Male; BLA45 S16 Male; BLA45 S19 Male; BLA45 S25 Female; BLA45 S30 Female; BLA45 S39 Female; BLA45 S43 Female; BLA45 S44 Male.
Officers from North Yorkshire Police's specialist Rural Taskforce are investigating the theft.
A spokesperson said: "If anyone saw anything suspicious or has any information about the lambs’ whereabouts, please contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 1 and quote reference 12200176115."
Last year, livestock worth more than £3 million were stolen from UK farms, according to NFU Mutual.
This makes rustling the most costly crime for the UK’s farming sector after agricultural vehicle and machinery theft.
How do I prevent livestock rustling?
Preventing rustling is not as easy as putting a padlock on a building or fitting a security system to a tractor.
However, there are a number of steps farmers can take to reduce the risk and technology is now providing effective ways of tracing stolen livestock.
To deter livestock thieves, NFU Mutual advises farmers to:
• Ensure stock is clearly marked and records are up to date
• When possible graze livestock in fields away from roads
• Check stock regularly - and vary times of feeding/check ups
• Consider a high-tech marking system such as TecTracer which puts thousands of coded microdot markers into a sheep’s fleece
• Join a Farm or Rural Watch scheme to share information about rural crime in your area
• Ask neighbours to report any suspicious sightings to the police, or to give information 100% anonymously to the Rural Crime Hotline 0800 783 0137
• Dial 999 immediately if an incident is taking place - do not approach criminals