Between Thursday 20 and Friday 21 July 2017, about 60 lambs were taken from the Lofthouse area. It is believed the theft happened in the early hours of the morning, and the thieves would have needed transportation such as a cattle trailer or similar to remove such a quantity of sheep.
PC David Mackay, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, said: “The sheep were marked with red across their shoulders, which may now have faded. They have been described as not yet ready and still quite small, and so there is the possibility that they may be on land somewhere.
“If you have any information regarding the theft or are aware of sheep with this marking suddenly appearing on land please contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 quoting 12170128773 or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.”
In another incident of sheep theft in the Harrogate area, ten lambs were taken from a property on the B6161 Otley Road near Beckwithshaw sometime last week. That investigation is also ongoing.
Inspector Jon Grainge, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, added: “Over recent years, North Yorkshire Police and surrounding rural forces have taken an increasing number of reports relating to the theft of sheep. The Rural Taskforce has been focusing on this problem, and we have identified that sheep have been stolen, often in ones and twos, sometimes in trailer-loads. Some will be destined almost immediately for the illegal meat trade, while others are ‘hidden’ in open view in fields and barns across a wide geographic area.
“The difficulty with the nature of this crime is that it is not necessarily immediately obvious to farmers, who may only be able to identify their shortfall at the time of bringing sheep in to scan or to worm, which often gives a very wide timeframe for us to work with. Lines of enquiry are limited, and this is where we need the public’s help to call in suspicious movements of animals, or animals appearing in fields unexpectedly.”
North Yorkshire Police are also continuing to urge people in rural areas to be vigilant, and report any suspicious activity to the police, as part of its Call It In campaign. Even if it doesn’t need an immediate response, every piece of information helps officers build up a picture and could prove vital in bringing criminals to justice.