Union and Police Tackle Huge Increase in Sheep Thefts

NFU Scotland is working with Lothian and Borders Police officers to tackle a significant increase in sheep thefts in the area.   The worrying trend has seen around 300 sheep reported stolen from a number of farms in the area in recent times.  

As a result of the problems in Lothian and the Borders, the Union is urging all livestock farmers across Scotland to be on their guard, to keep an eye on their stock and to report thefts or suspicious activities to their local police forces.

NFU Scotland is working in partnership with Lothian and Borders Police to tackle the latest spate of thefts in the region, which extends to livestock, machinery and break-ins and to encourage greater vigilance amongst the farming and rural communities.

NFU Scotland’s Regional manager for the area, Lisa Roberts said:

“It is deeply worrying for livestock farmers that this type of activity is on the increase and is starting to form a trend. Though we now have a significant number of sheep thefts that have occurred throughout these parts it is unlikely that Lothian and Borders is alone in facing this problem and the warning goes out to livestock farmers around the country to be on their guard.

“We would like members to be aware of any suspicious activity they may have witnessed. Has there been any unusual livestock transport vehicles in the area?  Has there been any unusual activity at farm sales? Do you know of anyone who may be looking to sell more stock than they would normally? Are abattoirs and butchers being offered stock from unexpected or unusual sources? Remember this type of theft impacts on the livelihoods of members and we would encourage members to work with the police to track down these thieves.

Commenting on the recent rise in incidents, a spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police said:

“Over the last few months, police in the Scottish Borders have seen an increase in the number of thefts from the farming community. The property taken includes not just livestock but ranges across plant, machinery, quad bikes, and break-ins to homes.  To take the property it is most likely that vehicles will have to have been used and most incidents will take place during the hours of darkness. Those responsible also appear to have a good local knowledge of the areas they have targeted.

“Police urge farmers and members of the public to take note of any suspicious vehicles in the area, particularly during the night. Most livestock are transported during the day and if you should see a horsebox or livestock lorry at a time when you think you shouldn’t, make a note of the registration. Similarly if you see such a vehicle parked next to a field where you know the farmer and don’t recognise the vehicle, again, take a note of the registration.

“If you’re not sure, report the matter to the police. Let us check these things out. If the vehicle and people are genuine they won’t mind the police checking - it only takes us minutes to confirm peoples identities and the reasons for them being where they are.

“In the meantime, police will carry out additional patrols throughout the area, including road checks throughout the Scottish Borders in an effort to combat this type of theft. Rest assured the police will make every effort to bring the thieves to justice.

Notes to Editors

  • Lothian and Borders Police has provided details on the thefts reported to date:

Redheugh Farm, Cockburnspath

Over the last few months there has been approximately 200 sheep stolen from the above farm. There is no specific time or date to confirm when the theft took place but those responsible will have had to have taken some time to have rounded the sheep up and used a large vehicle to transport them.

Pirntation, Fountainhall, nr Heriot

Between, late May 2009 and February 2010, a total of 30 sheep have gone missing from various fields around Pirntation, Fountainhall near Heriot.  The sheep have gone missing from fields bounded by public roads and include Texel and Blackface hoggs. The value of the sheep is given as between £2000 - £3000.

Westruther Mains Farm, Westruther

Between 13th and 14th of April, 7 ewes and 14 lambs have been stolen from the above farm.

Hollybush Farm, Galashiels

Between 22nd and 24th April 2010, there were 16 ewes and 32 lambs stolen in total from the above farm and whoever has taken the sheep will either have good local knowledge of the area or have made a good reconnaissance of the locality.

  • Should anyone have information which may assist Lothian and Borders Police with enquiries or help to identify those responsible are asked to contact their local police station or Hawick Police Station on 01450 375051. 
  • NFU Scotland’s Regional manager for Lothian and Borders, Lisa Roberts, can be contacted on 0131 472 4034 or 07789 796582.  Email: 
  • Lothian and Borders Police Crime Prevention officers PC Ross Hall and PC Clarke Tait can be contacted on 07775406868 or 01835 825058.   Email: or


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 68/10

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