Police believe organised criminal gangs are behind the theft of more than 90 livestock in north Wales.
Professional rustlers are believed to be behind the theft of 80 sheep and 13 Friesian calves missing from farms in Gwynedd, Conwy, and Denbighshire.
North Wales Police’s Rural Crime Team is urging farmers to remain vigilant given the unusual scale of the thefts, which they say would have required stock-handling skills.
Although all the thefts were reported last week, rural crime team manager Rob Taylor said it was likely the animals were taken over a number of weeks.
“It’s alarming and concerning – but these aren’t normal thefts,” he told the Daily Post. “This is organised criminality.”
It is a year since North Wales Police launched ‘Operation Fleece’ – aimed at targeting livestock thieves head on last autumn.
Farmers were urged to remain on their guard after the preceding 12 months saw the theft of up to a 1,000 sheep from various locations across north Wales.
Sergeant Taylor said it was possible that livestock were being stolen during broad daylight in front of the passing public.
“Who would suspect a possible thief in a field with a dog rounding up sheep? But this is what they have to be doing and they are affecting the livelihoods of our farming communities.”
He added: “These people know the business and have the methods and contacts to dispose of the animals.”
Anyone with information should call North Wales Police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.