Police have issued farmers a warning to keep livestock safe from rustlers after 26 ewes were recently snatched in Devon.
Devon and Cornwall Police are appealing for witnesses after the sheep were stolen from farmland between 20 October and 27 October.
The Highlander ewes were stolen from a field in Brayford, Barnstaple, the police said on social media.
The sheep were fully fleeced, uniquely tagged and marked with black spray marker in various ways.
Livestock rustling remains one of the most costly crimes for British farmers after vehicle and machinery theft.
Figures by NFU Mutual show that farm animals worth an estimated £2.3m were stolen from UK farms in 2020.
“We are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information in connection with a report of theft of sheep," Devon and Cornwall Police said.
"If you have any information which may relate to this please phone: 101, or via webchat on the Devon and Cornwall police website or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, quoting CR/094378/21."
In August, a 25-year-old man who stole over £87,000 worth of sheep was handed an eight month prison sentence.
Daniel Smith, from Sutton St. Nicholas, Hereford, pleaded guilty to four counts of livestock theft for crimes committed between November 2020 to January 2021.