A Kerry farmer suspects thieves of taking sheep from his farm in August.

"I had 19 lambs stolen and my neighbour has reported nine of his missing also," Glenbeigh sheep farmer James Moriarty told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“The ewes and their lambs were sent up the mountain for grazing at the end of May. When we took them back down on 11 August, there was no sign of the lambs with the ewes,” Moriarty explained.

“We went back up the mountain on two further occasions and the lambs were nowhere to be found. They were definitely separated from their mothers and taken away, they couldn’t all have went missing.”

In the act

Moriarty reported the theft to local gardaí and suspects dogs may have been used to move the sheep.

“My farm is half way between Killorglin and Cahersiveen. I’d say these lads are local, they must know the area very well. Dogs could have been used to drive the sheep over the mountain.

“This is going on all the time. It’s becoming a full-time business for these people. It’s nearly impossible to recover the sheep once they’ve been taken. You really need to catch them in the act.”

Backyard butchers

Moriarty has urged other farmers to be vigilant in their area to prevent similar thefts.

“This could be a case of farmers stealing from farmers. We need to keep an eye out in the marts and make sure these animals don’t go under the radar.

“It’s very easy to cut the tags out of lambs' ears and no one knows where they came out of. There’s a lot of small backyard operations down here that can kill the sheep themselves. Those are hard to combat.”

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