POLICE are urging farmers to be vigilant after thousands of pounds worth of livestock were stolen. 

More than 41 ewes and 38 lambs from a Castleton farm, in the North York Moors, went missing from open moorlands in the last month.

The farmer has contacted neighbouring farms, but there is no sign of the distinctive Rough Fell breed worth thousands of pounds.

Most have yellow tags bearing the number 127821, their left ear notched and two blue stripes across their back.

“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,” said Inspector Matt Hagen of North Yorkshire Police's Rural Taskforce

“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.”

Officers are offering crime prevention advice to North Yorkshire farmers, urging people to report suspicious activity in the countryside and are keeping up regular patrols in rural areas.

Farmers in North Yorkshire are encouraged to ensure livestock is clearly marked, records are kept up to date, graze livestock in fields away from roads, check stock regularly and report any suspicious activity to North Yorkshire Police.

Anyone with information about the stolen sheep – particularly if they are found in a different location or offered for sale – is asked to contact PC 829 Wayne Leith, by emailing wayne.leith@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk and quote the reference number 12200165977.