A farmer from Inishowen, Co Donegal, suspects thieves of taking sheep from his farm on 19 June.

“I had 19 ewes and 25 lambs stolen from the field right beside my house. I had planned to send six of the lambs to the factory the next day,” Ozzie McDermott told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“I had sheared the ewes 10 days earlier and I thought it would be handy to keep this small batch beside the house and get them separated for the factory,” McDermott explained.

“The thieves came during the night and took the whole group. We were totally oblivious to what was going on. We often have them in more open places where criminals could have taken their opportunity.”

Keep an eye out

McDermott fears the sheep will never be recovered and warns of the increasing frequency of similar thefts in his county.

“Once these animals are taken it’s a complete write-off. The guards can’t recover them. It’s a matter of keeping an eye out yourself.

"We have our suspicions of who’s taking the sheep, but it’s very hard to prove it.

“Just 10 days after my sheep were stolen, a farmer in Letterkenny had 20 of his lambs taken. Someone rounded his flock up and took just the lambs and left the ewes.”

Kerry theft

Similarly, 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.”

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