Rustlers steal 75 sheep from remote Highlands farm

Livestock worth an estimated £2.3 million were stolen from farms across the UK last year
Livestock worth an estimated £2.3 million were stolen from farms across the UK last year

Livestock rustlers have stolen 75 sheep from a remote farm in the Scottish Highlands, with police saying the animals could have been taken as far back as December.

The blackface sheep were stolen from a farm near Tomatin anytime between December 2020 and this month.

The sheep consisted of 40 breeding ewes and 35 wether hoggs.

All the animals have the letters 'MSF' branded on their right horn, along with a red spot mark on their right side.

Police Scotland said: "Any information regarding this incident should be passed to police officers in Inverness by calling 101 quoting Ref No. NN/2070/21"

Farm animals worth an estimated £2.3m were stolen from farms in 2020, making it one of the most costliest crimes for farmers, according to NFU Mutual.

How can I help prevent livestock rustling?

Modern livestock thieves scout the countryside for targets and come equipped to steal with large vehicles.

Protecting flocks requires increasingly sophisticated measures, NFU Mutual says:

• 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 Crimestoppers Hotline 0800 555 111

• Dial 999 immediately if an incident is taking place - do not approach criminals