Pigs drinking water from a trough© Tim Scrivener

The theft of nearly 200 pigs from a farm in Cheshire may have been the work of professional burglars, say police.

Cheshire Constabulary is appealing for help from the farming community to catch thieves who stole 178 pigs from a commercial farm in Hatley Lane, Frodsham.

Officers were called to the farm shortly after 7.30am on Monday (11 September).

They found that unknown offenders had forced entry into the pig farm, using bolt cutters to gain access to the shed.

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Once inside the building the thieves loaded 178 pigs into a large vehicle, possibly a stock carrier for sheep or cattle, before fleeing the scene.

The incident is believed to have occurred sometime between 6pm on 10 September and 7am on Monday 11 September.

‘Knew what they were looking for’

The victim told Farmers Weekly: “The thieves knew exactly what they were looking for and took the biggest pigs from the batch.

“The police have been on site, but clearly there is urgency now to identify where the pigs have gone so we may be able to catch those responsible.”

Detective Constable Lestyn Lewis-Jones, investigating, said: “We treat all reports of rural crime extremely seriously and are committed to doing everything we can to make our rural communities safer.

“Investigations in relation to this incident are currently ongoing and we are following a number of lines of enquiry; early indications suggest this incident may have been a targeted burglary.

“As part of the investigation I’m keen to hear from anyone in the local area who believes they may have witnessed anything suspicious on the night this incident occurred.

“I’d also like to urge other farmers in the local are to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity immediately by contacting us on 101.”

Anyone with any information in relation to the burglary is asked to contact Cheshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 111 of 11/09/2017. Information can also be passed on anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.