Seventy sheep have been stolen from a Kerry flock. The theft was discovered last Friday, and could have taken place over the previous couple of weeks.

The animals are all male lambs, and were taken from Kilcummin mountain, between Castlegregory and Brandon on the Dingle peninsula.

The lambs are all of the Swaledale breed, weighing between 29kg and 34kg. They could be offered as forward stores, or could be brought to an abattoir or slaughter plant.

The farmer believes the theft could only have been carried out by people with shepherding skills.

“The sheer number of lambs stolen means whoever took them might regularly be selling sheep to farmers or a factory,” he said. “To get them off the mountain in the first place would have involved either sheepdogs, quad bikes or both”.

Some of the flock of Swaledale sheep on Kilcummin mountain, from where 70 male lambs were recently stolen

He appealed to farmers to be vigilant for animals with a distinctive red marking, as shown in the photograph. Alternatively, the animals might be recently sheared, to remove the branding.

Gardaí in Tralee are handling the investigation, and anyone with information is encouraged to contact Garda Dan Buckley at 066-710 2300