Chumleigh farm loses £2,000-worth of sheep in ‘commercial scale’ theft


Sheep - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Bridge Reeve farm one of many to be hit in spate of sheep rustling incidents

Police are investigating a spate of sheep rustling incidents, including one instance in Chumleigh which saw over £2,000-worth of lambs stolen from a secure field.

The incident, at Bridge Reeve farm between August 14-18, is one of a number across Devon in recent months.

Thirty-one lambs, including the mule Suffolk breed, were taken with a combined value of £2,170. Police believe the likely motive of the thieves is to sell the sheep for meat.

In July, £900-worth of sheep were stolen from Halwill Junction in Beaworthy. The 12 sheep were marked with either a blue or yellow spot, and wheel marks near the gate of the field suggest a van or small lorry was used in the theft.

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One Wiltshire pedigree ewe was also stolen from Springways in Barnstaple between September 7-8, with a value of £85.

In the last year throughout Devon, reports suggest over 300 sheep have been stolen at a combined value of £31,000, with the possible side-effect of contaminated second-hand meat finding its way into the public domain.

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“This is theft on a commercial scale by organised groups and we need the help of our rural communities to help identify the offenders and stop these thefts,” said Ilfracombe police sector inspector Roger Bartlett.

“We are encouraging farmers to ensure they properly mark their stock as well as thinking about making sure any CCTV they have covers the lanes to their fields.

“Farm Watch schemes and the use of the Community Messaging system are effective ways to be kept informed about criminal working in local areas.”

Anyone with information should cal 101. For the Chumleigh case, quote CT/13/481, for Beaworthy quote JO/13/642, and for Barnstaple quote CN/13/347.

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