Six arrested for suspected sheep rustling

Six men have been arrested after 16 lambs were discovered crammed into two cars stopped by police on the M5.

Some of the animals were on the back seat of one of the cars, while others were discovered packed into the boot.

Officers have now located the owner of the lambs – which were found near Oldbury in the West Midlands in the early hours of Thursday.

The men were arrested on suspicion of theft after the Vauxhall Cavalier and Rover cars were stopped.

Police said the lambs’ owner is from Toddington, Gloucestershire, and he will be reunited with his flock.

The police spokesman said officers found eight lambs in the boot of one of the vehicles, with another three on the back seats. In the second vehicle, four lambs were found in the boot and two in the foot-well.

He added: “The lambs were found to be tightly bound and were obviously distressed.”

• Meanwhile a farmer in Devon has come up with a unique way to beat rustlers – by painting his entire flock orange.

John Heard of Okehampton, Devon, has lost 200 sheep to theft in recents years, so decided to take action. He dyed 250 blackface ewes after an idea his son James got from farmers in Scotland.

Heard said: “James was working in Scotland and saw some sheep that had been dyed.

“It’s put an end to the rustling because it makes people think twice about it.”

He said the dye, which will have almost grown out by shearing time in July, also helped manage the sheep on the moor by making them easier to spot.

>> Livestock rustling on the rise

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