FARMERS in North Worcestershire are being warned to be extra vigilant after a spate of sheep thefts linked to sales on the black market. 

West Mercia Police have said it is believed the thefts and attempted thefts could be for the illegal sale of meat.

Officers have issued the warning following reports that there have been several incidents in the Iverley area.

A pregnant ewe was stolen and a few weeks after two lambs were stolen. There was a further incident when another attempt was made to take lambs from the same location.

On the first occasion it is suspected the thieves discovered the ewe was pregnant, so they abandoned her in a lay-by miles away in Brierley Hill. Another farmer found her and returned to her owners.

On Sunday, March 24, thieves attempted to steal lambs from a farm in Upton Warren, near Bromsgrove, however the would-be thieves were disturbed by a member of the public.

Although they tried to flee with the lamb, it was left behind.

Earlier this week, two Rams worth around £500 each were reported stolen from a farm in Wildmoor, near Bromsgrove.

Sarah Sceats, Rural and Business Crime Officer for North Worcestershire, said: “We are urging farmers to be extra vigilant of their livestock following these recent incidents.

“We are advising them to take the time to check the perimeters of their land are as secure as possible and, where practical, to keep sheep and lambs as close to the farm as they can.

“You can find further advice on our website on protecting your livestock at Rural crime prevention | West Mercia Police .”

In a further warning due to the thefts being linked to the sale of meat on the black market, RABO Sceats added: “We would further warn potential thieves that stealing lambs at this time of year is not only a criminal offence but that in any case they would also not be getting much meat on the bones and that it is also cruel to separate them from their parents which can be particularly distressing for the ewes.”