Four heifer calves which were stolen from lands at Chaffpool, Tubbercurry, Co Sligo, last weekend have been returned to their owner.

Frank Brennan, farmer and agri consultant, had 11 Friesian heifers on the land where they were being fed meal daily. Four of them were believed to be stolen between 7pm on Saturday and 8am on Sunday last.

The calves were returned to a field on Monday after “the heat and publicity made them too hot to handle”, Brennan told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“I came up to the out farm up the road from my house. I’ve a meadow cut and was going shaking it out.

“I arrived up to see the gates open and the electric fence was down where I had the grass cut. I didn’t pass much heed on that. I thought Dad might have been up.

“I was on the first run around the field and I saw the four calves running towards me. I thought I was seeing things. They were parched and starved but OK, hopefully they’re here to stay,” he said.

He added that the calves were all very quiet, almost pet animals, and were being hand-fed meal so would come running to a bucket.

Brennan said that the relief upon seeing the calves was incredible.

“The fact that they were DNA-profiled rendered them useless to anyone down the road. I’m guessing they didn’t go too far. There was muck on their legs, so I’d say they were in a trailer not too far away,” he said.

A farmer in Claremorris, Co Mayo, who also had a number of in-calf stolen on the same night had his heifers returned too. Brennan said it was a “remarkable coincidence”.