Police have clamped down on livestock worrying with a new high-tech initiative to coat sheep in thousands of coded markers.
The TecTRACER system being trialled by North Yorkshire Police as part of Operation Bo Peep, will hide microdots – each with a unique identifying number – in existing marker fluid to deter sheep rustlers and brand sheep with a safety ‘cocoon’.
The forensic code will then be uploaded to a database to allow farmers to prompt a warning and trace the animal back to its home farm if stolen.
TecTRACER director John Minary, a former police detective, said: “If livestock is stolen, we can send an alert out to farmers, local traders, abattoirs and the police to inform them sheep have been stolen.
“Not only that, it builds up an extremely strong deterrent to thieves and makes their job much more difficult when trying to sell into the illegal meat trade.”
Mr Minary said if the North Yorkshire trial was successful, it could be rolled out nationally.
He added: “From a police point of view, it is helping with resource demands.
“And it provides that reassurance to farmers that the police are keyed with new innovative ideas to help rural communities.”