Northamptonshire sheep-stealing spree: 64 ewes taken

A PCSO with an Operation Stock sign Image copyright Northamptonshire Police
Image caption Police have handed out 150 warning signs to farmers since thefts and killings began earlier this year

Thieves have stolen 64 ewes from a field in the latest incident of sheep theft in Northamptonshire.

The animals were taken in West Haddon between Wednesday and Thursday.

Police are linking the theft to a spate of incidents across the county which since February has seen 81 lambs and sheep killed and 258 stolen.

Earlier this month the county's force launched night drone patrols in an effort to find those responsible for the attacks on the animals.

Officers believe the animals which have been killed - many of them butchered in the fields where they were grazing - are then being sold illegally to restaurants and shops.

The latest theft is being probed part of Northamptonshire Police's Operation Stock, Sgt Sam Dobbs said.

He said it was believed some sort of trailer was used to steal the ewes.

As well as the drones and increased police patrols, 150 warning signs have been given out to farmers and landowners across the county.

Police are urging farmers and others living in rural parts of the county to remain vigilant.

Image copyright Park End Farming
Image caption Farmer Phil Neal shared the graphic image on Facebook after 14 of his lambs were butchered last month

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