Police have called on farmers to be vigilant in the face of livestock theft after 52 sheep were dumped in a field in Yeovil.
Police who have seized 52 sheep from a field near Yeovil suspect the sheep have been stolen from as far a-field as Cumbria.
Avon and Somerset Police discovered the Mules, Jacobs, Swaledales and a Texel Ram yesterday (January 31) in a what they said was a ’poor condition’.
A flock of stolen sheep found 300 miles away in Somerset may contain some pinched from here in Cumbria, say police. Can you spot yours? ;) pic.twitter.com/hIk72gn9Fk— Cumbria Journo (@EllisButcher)
Rural crime officer Inspector Joanna Mines said the sheep's identity tags showed there were animals in the flock that had originated from Devon, Somerset and Cumbria.
She said: "Sadly they have not been kept in good condition recently and two had to be put down at the scene. We will be looking at several offences in relation to animal cruelty in addition to theft.
"We understand the impact that livestock theft has on farmers and small holders. The financial and breeding implications can be far-reaching and long-lasting."
Reports show more than 600 sheep went missing during summer last year with a more recent incident seeing 34 calves taken from a farm near Wells, Somerset.
Inspector Mines added: "From the public's perspective there is a health and hygiene issue in relation to stolen livestock getting into the food chain.
"Farmers raise their animals, transport and slaughter them according to very strict guidelines which thieves are not necessarily going to adhere to."
Anyone with any information can contact the rural crime team directly on 81819.