18th November 2019

Thieves escape with 200 pregnant Somerset sheep in stolen van which is later found torched

Avon and Somerset Police are investigating the rustling of 200 in-lamb sheep from a field at Ash, near Martock, on Friday night.

They were all ear-tagged and marked a large red patch on their backs, as well as an orange one on a front shoulder. The sheep were all North Country Mules, as seen in the picture.

A stolen vehicle used to transport them has been recovered in Ilford, near Ilminster, after it was torched.

A V registration Leyland Daf box van, cream in colour, was stolen on the same night from a business at Broadshard near Crewkerne, probably about 11.30pm.

This may also be connected with a Long Sutton farm burglary on Thursday in which sheep feed, lambing equipment and hurdles were taken. It happened between 2am and 10pm in the Knightlands Lane area.

WPC Rowan Hawkins from the Rural Crime Team said:

“Stealing a flock of ewes due to give birth soon is a devastating crime for a farmer, and it appears to be linked to two other burglaries in South Somerset.

“To take such a large number of animals is a highly organised crime and will require access to suitable facilities.

“I appeal to the farming community for anyone with any information which can assist in this investigation to come forward as soon as possible as we do have some lines of enquiry that we are following, and we also need to be mindful of the sheep’s welfare.”

If you saw anyone acting suspiciously or any vehicles involved, or have any information which may help in the rustling investigation, please call Avon and Somerset Police on 101 and quote reference 13272/15.

The reference for the lorry theft is 13237/15, and the farm burglary is 12751/15.

If you wish to give information in strict confidence, please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 and they will pass it to them anonymously.