Cumbria sheep theft: Police target marts

Cumbria police officers inspecting sheep in trailer Image copyright Cumbria Constabulary
Image caption Cumbria police and trading standards officers ran the operation a three auction marts

More than 320 sheep and lambs, costing about £40,000, have been stolen in Cumbria so far this year.

In response, Cumbria Police and Trading Standards stopped nearly 200 vehicles and inspected more than 5,400 sheep to identify stolen animals, in a three-day operation.

They went to auction marts in Kirkby Stephen, Cockermouth and Longtown.

Wildlife crime officer PC Sarah Rollandary said sheep theft was a "big issue" for the farming community.

"The financial impact to farmers when their livestock is stolen is hugely significant, not only due to the need to replace the stock stolen but also because of insurance premiums," she said.

The animals' ear tags and documentation required if they are moved or taken to auction were checked.

Vehicles were checked for safety and against databases of stolen trailers.

A number of tagging and licence offences were identified as well as traffic and vehicle offences.

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