A total of 64 ewes have been stolen from a field in Northamptonshire - and police are investigating it as part of its operation into illegal sheep butchery plaguing the county this summer.
The animals were stolen from a field off Foxhill Road near West Haddon between 3pm on Wednesday (August 7) and 3pm yesterday (Thursday).
Sergeant Sam Dobbs said evidence at the scene suggests some sort of trailer was used to steal the sheep.
“This incident sadly highlights the need for ongoing vigilance from everyone - farmers, residents and everyone living, working or passing through our countryside," he said.
“If you see something which seems unusual or suspicious, please call police immediately - the information you provide could be crucial to our investigation.
“The patrols which have been taking place in this area remain ongoing alongside a range of other policing activity as Operation Stock continues.”
Northamptonshire Police is investigating lambs and sheep found killed and illegally butchered on farms in Crick, Whilton, Clipston, Kelmarsh and Rushton last month.
Operation Stock is linked in with neighbouring forces, including Warwickshire and Leicestershire, which have also seen a number of recent cases of illegal butchery.
The National Farmers' Union estimates suggest that more than 100 sheep have been illegally slaughtered in Northamptonshire since March.
One arrest on suspicion of criminal damage and theft has been made so far, a 40-year-old Hampshire man on July 24 - he remains released under investigation.
Anyone with information about the theft of the ewes from West Haddon should call Northamptonshire Police on 101, stating incident number 19000419459.
Information about suspicious activity in rural areas should be reported to Northamptonshire Police on 101 or online, quoting Operation Stock. In an emergency, always dial 999.
More information about Operation Stock is available at www.northants.police.uk/OpStock