Police are stepping up measures to prevent livestock thefts, after thousands of pounds worth of farm animals were stolen.
Efforts to prevent further thefts have seen officers from North Yorkshire Police offer crime prevention advice to farmers, urging people to report suspicious activity in the countryside and patrols have been increased.
Inspector Matt Hagen of North Yorkshire Police Taskforce said: “Farmers are doing their best to make a living and keep food on our tables in these difficult times, so having livestock stolen is the last thing they need.”
The call for increased vigilance follows a string of thefts in the Hambleton and Ryedale areas, which saw more than 140 farm animals stolen worth in excess of £6,000.
Reports suggest criminals may be stealing livestock for illegally butchery, prompting fears the meat could be entering the food chain.
According to NFU mutual, £2.5 million worth of farm animals were stolen nationwide in 2018, making it the most costly crime for farmers behind the theft of agricultural vehicles and farm machinery.
Inspector Hagen added: "Livestock theft can be devastating for farmers and their businesses, as well as causing unnecessary suffering to animals. If you think you have been a victim, or you have any information about who is committing these crimes, please call us.
"We take all reports extremely seriously as we work to keep these criminals away from North Yorkshire’s farms."