Farmers are warned of stolen tag role in sheep thefts

FOLLOWING the recent theft of sheep and lambs in Berwickshire, NFU Scotland is warning farmers that they should keep spare and replacement sheep tags secure as these crucial identifiers could help criminals hide their tracks if they are handling stolen livestock.

After a significant number of sheep and lambs went missing – presumed stolen – near Coldingham, NFUS has highlighted the fact that in order to get value out of the animals they would need to be retagged. This could mean that tags are being stolen from other farms for this purpose.

In addition to being watchful for their stock and sheep tags, anyone trading livestock should be alert for batches of sheep and lambs from unusual sources and perhaps with a mixture of tag numbers or tag types.

NFU Scotland’s President, Nigel Miller said: “Via our Farmwatch scheme, Lothian and Borders Police recently alerted NFUS and our local members to the theft of 10 ewes and 42 lambs from a field near Coldingham.

“The Police are rightly reminding farmers to check their stock regularly and remain vigilant for suspicious vehicles or people. In addition, I have drawn the Police’s attention to the potential role that stolen tags could play in helping criminals sell this stock on in a bid to help them hide their tracks.

“Taking tags from a separate farm from the stolen livestock would demonstrate a high level of organisation and farmers should therefore make sure that any spare tags are stored securely as well. This advice applies to all sheep farmers across the country, not just in Lothian and Borders.”

If you have any information about the Coldingham case or any other incidents, please contact your local station or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.