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Thursday 26 April 2012

Farmers urged to be on their guard after lamb thefts


Farmers and residents across Cheshire East are being asked to be vigilant after a worrying series of livestock thefts.

Over the last month, around 76 lambs have been stolen from two farms in the Macclesfield area.

Although the police have charged a man over the incidents, people are being asked to be on their guard in what is fast becoming an annual problem.

It appears the thieves struck overnight, using vehicles to visit more secluded fields.

The five-week old animals are known as ‘milk lambs’, as they are still being weaned by their mothers.

One of the major concerns is for the welfare of the animals – both the lambs and the ewes. The lambs will have been chased before being tied up and transported in inappropriate vehicles. The lambs are then likely to been slaughtered inhumanely.

There is also a legal requirement that animal organs are disposed of properly to prevent the spread of disease. There are signs this is not happening in these instances.

Councillor Rachel Bailey, Cabinet member with responsibility for safer and stronger communities, said: “These thefts are cruel and distressing for all involved. The ewe and the lamb will suffer from considerable distress and the farmers obviously suffer emotionally and financially.

“I would urge everyone to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to either the police, or to us here at the Council.”

Inspector Jez Taylor, from the Macclesfield Neighbourhood Policing Unit, said: “We are aware of a current increase in livestock theft and we have been patrolling the areas at risk. As a result we made a recent arrest for theft.

“We are continuing to monitor the affected areas and would advise that residents remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity in rural areas to police by ringing on our non-emergency number – 101.”

If you do have any information, please call the Council on 01270 686601.

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