The Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI) is investigating the theft of 63 sheep in recent weeks in two Co Derry incidents, including whether there is a link between both thefts.

Most recently, 13 Suffolk-cross-Texel in-lamb ewes were taken from a field at the junction of the Kilcreen and Altinure roads between 10am on Wednesday 7 February and 10.30am on Thursday 8 February.

A fortnight prior to this, between 7pm on Thursday 25 January and 7am on Friday 26 January, 50 Texel and Suffolk ewe lambs were taken from a field on the Teenaght Road in Claudy, some 10 minutes away.

Sergeant Johnston of Sperrin neighbourhood policing team in Strabane said inquiries are ongoing, “including to establish if this is linked with the theft on Kilcreen Road,” he said.

Information appeal

Appealing for information on the most recent theft of the 13 in-lamb ewes on the Kilcreen Road, sergeant Johnston asked anyone who saw unfamiliar vehicles in the area at that time to contact the PSNI.

"The removal of these ewes would have required planning and the use of a vehicle, for example a trailer, to transport the animals away from the area.

"The theft of these ewes will be of a significant loss to the farmer. Not only is there the value of the ewes and the lambs, but there is also the cost involved in rearing and farming the animals.

“We're urging anyone with information about the animals' whereabouts, or who took them, to get in touch. It may be a detail that you think is insignificant, but it could make a difference,” he said.

The 13 in-lamb ewes had red markings on their right side, while the 50 ewe lambs had orange markings.


Sergeant Johnston also appealed to farmers to tighten security to prevent these thefts.

"In the meantime, to work to prevent these type of thefts, there are a number of steps farmers can take to reduce the risk, including padlock field gates, ensure stock are clearly marked and records are up to date, check stock regularly, vary times of feeding/check-ups and ask neighbours to report any sightings of unusual vehicles loading sheep.

"The tighter your farm security, the more difficult it will be for thieves to steal your livestock or equipment," he said.