MORE than 70 sheep worth £11,000 have been snatched from their field.
A farmer has been left counting the cost after 72 of his animals were stolen from land in the Bowburn, Durham.
The animals, all breeding ewes, are believed to have been taken during the last three months.
The theft came to light after the owners carried out a headcount in preparation for the lambing season.
The missing sheep are worth more than £11,000 in total.
Police Community Support Officer Steven Bell, Farmwatch co-ordinator for the area, said: “Clearly the loss of such a large number of livestock has massive implications for the owners and their ability to continue sheep farming. I would urge all other local farmers to remain vigilant.”
Anyone with information about the theft or the whereabouts of the animals is asked to call Durham City CID on the non-emergency number 101, quoting crime reference ED1500406, or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.