A new farmer who has only been farming for about a year has suffered a devastating setback after thousands of pounds worth of equipment were stolen.
Faye Litherland is facing significant disruption to her business after sheep handling equipment was stolen and electric fences cut, allowing pedigree stock to mix and mate without supervision.
The lineage of the offspring will now not be known. Pigs also got loose and fought and gave birth in fields.
The theft took place on a farm in Hornblotton near Shepton Mallet. Almost a complete sheep race – a pen used to help control and segregate livestock – was stolen.
Gates at either end and the central pen were taken. It happened between Monday, October 29, and Wednesday, October 31, but police waited two weeks before launching a public appeal yesterday.
PCSO Yvonne Mears said: “If you do not work in farming you might not appreciate the devastating impact this theft has had. We are determined to identify the people responsible.”
Ms Litherland said: “I have wanted to farm ever since I knew what farming was. I’ve saved up money to buy the farm as a lifelong dream and since the theft it has been absolute hell. What has upset me the most were the injuries to my pigs.
"During the theft the electric fence was cut and as pigs are intelligent creatures they soon worked it out and mixed in a field. There were lots of fights between them with injuries to deal with.
“Pedigree stock has also been mixed up as I don’t know who has mated with who and this will have an impact when offspring are born.”
Police want to hear from anyone who may have been offered this equipment for sale, or from anyone with information.
Call PCSO Mears on 101, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.