More than 100 lambs have been stolen by livestock rustlers in Cumbria in the latest such incident to plague UK farms.
The large-scale theft happened in the Penruddock area of Penrith between September 3 and 12, Cumbria Police said.
Thieves stole 105 Texel Cross lambs - tag number UK108296 - from a farm in the area.
The force is now investigating the theft of livestock, and warns other farmers to be cautious.
Anyone with information have been asked to call Cumbria Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Figures show rural crime costs have reached an eight year high in the UK - totalling £54m in 2019.
NFU Mutual's report shows that livestock theft increased last year, with the cost going up 9% to £3 million.
Gangs taking large numbers of sheep, which are thought to enter the food chain illegally, are driving the increase.
How can I better protect livestock?
To deter livestock thieves, NFU Mutual advises farmers to:
• Padlock field gates
• 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
• Ask neighbours to report any sightings of unusual vehicles loading sheep
• Join a FarmWatch scheme
The rural insurer has established that there are three distinct types of livestock thefts currently taking place:
• Large scale theft – organised crime with livestock destined for the food chain
• Pedigree – rams stolen for their high value as breeding stock
• Money laundering – organised criminal gangs buying and selling on sheep at auctions to launder money