Flock of sheep in the snowLibrary photo © FLPA/Rex/ Shutterstock

Police are hunting thieves who stole 126 sheep and two rams in a raid on a farm in Greater Manchester.

The offenders cut through a barbed wire fence, rounded up the sheep and herded them into a waiting vehicle.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) believe the thieves struck at the farm in Pilsworth Road, Prestwich, Bury, over two days between 21 November and 6 December.

See also: Hill farmers stole more than 100 sheep from neighbours

Many of the sheep were marked blue and red (see tweet below).

In a post on the GMP website, officers posted: “126 sheep and 2 rams have been stolen from Whitefield. Please look out at nativity plays.”

No description of the offenders is available. However, a force spokesman said: “Do you have any information?

“Please keep a look out for these animals being sold, and report anything you believe to be suspicious to 101 or anonymously on Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.”

Top tips to tackle livestock rustling

  • Padlock field gates and take time to inspect outside fences
  • Ensure stock is clearly marked and records are kept up to date
  • Visit your livestock every day but vary the times you do this – rustlers are likely to take note of your daily routine
  • Where possible, keep livestock away from roads. An all-weather road can be a friend to livestock rustlers as they cannot afford to waste time on difficult terrain
  • Keep an eye out for suspicious vehicles – if you see an unfamiliar vehicle moving slowly, it may be somebody scouting out your livestock
  • Join a FarmWatch scheme

(Courtesy of rural insurer NFU Mutual)