Sheep rustler ordered to pay back £11k to farmers

A Hereford man has been ordered by court to repay £11,000 following numerous livestock thefts
A Hereford man has been ordered by court to repay £11,000 following numerous livestock thefts

A man who stole over 600 sheep has been ordered to pay back the proceeds of his crimes to affected farmers, a total of £11,000.

Daniel Smith, 26, pleaded guilty to four counts of theft at Hereford Magistrates’ Court in July 2021 and August 2021, he was sentenced to serve eight months imprisonment.

The sheep were stolen from four locations in fields in the Marden, Sutton St Nicholas and Cross Keys areas of Herefordshire between November 2020 and January 2021.

One of the victims identified sheep being sold as those stolen from his farm and subsequently 92% of the stolen sheep were recovered over the following two days in March 2021.

On 8 March 2022 at Worcester Crown Court, a Confiscation Order was made, whereby Mr Smith’s benefit figure from the crime was agreed to be £11,000.

The amount he was found to have available was also £11,000, which he has been ordered to pay within three months. If he does not pay, a further period of imprisonment in default of payment will be issued.

Detective Inspector Emma Wright, of West Mercia Police said: “Smith has been stripped of the trappings of his crime by powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act, as a result of a financial investigation by West Mercia Police Economic Crime Unit.

"A Confiscation Order imposed means he must pay back the full amount of £11,000, or face time in prison.”

Wildlife Crime Officer, PC Josh Kitchen of West Mercia Police, said the force was 'pleased' with the result of this investigation.

"We hope that it reassures the farming community that livestock theft will not be tolerated and that police will fully investigate these incidents.

“Livestock thefts across the UK totalled £2.3million in 2020 and the act often causes suffering for the animals and additional financial pressures for farmers.

“I would like to thank the farmers involved for their assistance in this investigation as well as the cooperation of Hereford Livestock Market."