Northern Ireland

Sheep rustlers target Claudy farms for second time in weeks with theft of 13 pregnant ewes

Sheep walk through snow on the Glenshane Pass in the Sperrin Mountains of County Londonderry. Up to 25cm of snow is forecast in parts of England and Wales, as the Met Office issued weather alerts and warned of disruption to travel. Picture date: Thursday February 8, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story WEATHER Snow. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Sheep pictured in the Glenshane Pass area of the Sperrin Mountains earlier this month. Police have now reported two counts of sheep being stolen from fields in the nearby Claudy area. PICTURE: LIAM MCBURNEY/PA WIRE (Liam McBurney/Liam McBurney/PA Wire)

POLICE are investigating two counts of sheep rustling in Co Derry after 13 pregnant ewes were stolen from a field in Claudy.

Between 10am on Wednesday, February 7, and 10.30am the following day the Suffolk/Texel-cross ewes expecting lambs were taken from a field at the junction of Kilcreen Road and Altinure Road.

The animals all had red markings on their left side.

Last month, a total of 50 Texel and Suffolk-bred ewe lambs with orange markings were also reported taken from a field on Teenaght Road in Claudy between 7pm on January 25 and 7am the next morning.

Enquiries are ongoing to determine if the two cases are linked.

Sergeant Johnston of Sperrin Neighbourhood Policing Team in Strabane said of the latest theft: “The removal of these ewes would have required planning and the use of a vehicle, for example a trailer, to transport the animals away from the area. I’m appealing to anyone who recalls seeing any unfamiliar vehicles in the area, between last Wednesday morning and 10:30am the next day, to call us.”

They said the financial impact of the crimes was especially significant.

“The theft of these ewes will be of a significant loss to the farmer. Not only is there the value of the ewes and the lambs, but there is also the cost involved in rearing and farming the animals.

“We’re urging anyone with information about the animals’ whereabouts, or who took them, to get in touch. It may be a detail that you think is insignificant, but it could make a difference.”