Man arrested and charged following £11,000 theft of livestock
Published:  18 July, 2016

Farmers and crofters are being encouraged to report livestock thefts, following the arrest of a 22-year-old man who stole £11,000 worth of animals in the Highlands. 

Twelve pedigree Suffolk sheep were taken from the Bilbster area of Caithness at the beginning of the month. A report has now been sent to the procurator fiscal.

“This arrest is a positive step in stamping down on livestock thefts across the country and has seen positive working between various organisations to come to this result,” said National Farmers’ Union (NFU) Scotland’s regional board chairman for the Highlands Jim Whiteford. “The swiftness of this arrest should send a message to thieves that this will not be tolerated.

“We know farmers and crofters are busy, particularly at this time of year, but we would urge them to check their stock regularly and report any thefts or suspicious activity to Police Scotland as soon as is practically possible.

“Thankfully in this case the sheep have been returned to the owner, and it is through the quick reporting and good work at a local level by all the parties involved that has had this good result.”

According to the union, it is believed many livestock thefts are under-reported across the whole of Scotland. Farmers and crofters are therefore encouraged to check their stock regularly.

“The farming community should be assured that our efforts to tackle this form of criminality will not stop,” said PC Willie Johnstone, from Police Scotland’s specialist crime division.

“This incident demonstrates that Police Scotland and partner agencies will exhaust all lines of enquiry to track down those who commit crime in the rural environment, and highlights the important part the public play in informing us of suspicious activity.

“Reporting as soon as possible is vital to allow us to maximise our opportunities to detect these types of crimes. We fully understand the emotional and financial significance a crime of this nature has on the farming community.

“Members of the public are thanked for their support in sharing our appeal and providing information.”