Farmers have been warned by police to ’be vigilant’ after more than 140 sheep were stolen from two farms in separate raids.
Thieves stole 32 ewes and 62 lambs from a field in Dorset, just days after a similar raid on a nearby farm.
The latest theft happened over the weekend near Wimborne, police said.
It is being investigated for possible links to a raid on Tuesday night at Child Okeford, in which 50 pregnant ewes were taken.
PC Maddy Dysterre-Clark said: “While at this stage we cannot confirm that the two incidents are linked, this is the second occasion in a short space of time where a large number of sheep have been stolen and is understandably likely to cause concern in the rural community.
“We are carrying out a number of enquiries into this incident and have been investigating CCTV opportunities.
“I am appealing to anyone who has any information or who witnessed any suspicious activity in the area over the weekend, such as any 4x4 or trailer movements at night, to please contact us.
“We would also urge farmers and members of the rural community to be vigilant and report any suspicious vehicle movements they encounter.
These thefts come as farmers are urged to speak up about rural crime after one in four said they ‘did not see the point’ in reporting such incidents.
The 2018 National Rural Crime Survey called on the community to have its say on what it called the ‘true picture’ of issues blighting the countryside and tell of the local impact of crime and anti-social behaviour.
It comes three years after its findings suggested fear, chronic under-reporting and frustration at the police and UK government was holding the sector back.
Julia Mulligan, chairman of the National Rural Crime Network, said one of the reasons the survey was being re-run was to understand if rural crime had continued to be under-reported.