police tape©Rex Features

Audacious thieves used a farmer’s own handling equipment to select and steal 50 in-lamb ewes from farmland in Carmarthenshire.

Alan Price’s Welsh mountain ewes went missing from rented land near his livestock farm at Dafadfa Isaf, Gwynfe, Llangadog.

Mr Price, who farms with his wife Ellen, said there was evidence that the sheep handling facilities in the field were used to round up his flock of 700 sheep.

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“We have reported the theft to the police but unfortunately there are no leads to date,” said Mr Price.

The ewes were due to start lambing at the end of the month. “We are devastated by this loss, which of course has substantial financial implications for us,” Mr Price admitted.

He has produced a leaflet detailing the tag numbers of the stolen sheep and information about the theft, which took place between 24 and 31 January. These leaflets will be placed in local marts.

Mr Price, a member of the Farmers’ Union of Wales, urged other farmers to be vigilant by taking note of suspicious activity and to report it to their local community support officer.

He said there were benefits in all farmers signing up for the Farm Watch Scheme. He stressed that they should also enrol in the OWL system, through which reports of suspicious vehicles or persons can be forwarded to other members of Farm Watch.