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Partridge rustlers steal 238 birds during overnight Butleigh raid

By Central Somerset Gazette  |  Posted: September 27, 2012

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Police are investigating a rare case of partridge rustling in Butleigh.

PC Kevin Stoodley said that overnight on September 17, thieves had crossed three fields and disconnected electric fences in order to get close to the wooden pens that housed 240 of the birds.

All but two of the partridges were stolen in the raid.

The birds and the cost of damage caused by the thieves have been estimated at around £1,400.

The remaining two birds were given to a local shoot master.

Police are appealing for witnesses, and urging people who are offered partridges for sale to come forward, as they may have been stolen from the gamekeeper.

“This is a particularly unusual crime and we are appealing to people to remain vigilant,” a police spokesman said.

“Perhaps you were in Butleigh in the early hours of September 18 and remember seeing something suspicious, but thought nothing of it at the time.

“Any information, no matter how small, could help us find these birds and to reunite them with their rightful owner.”

In the wake of the thefts, police are urging farmers to sign up to their Farmwatch scheme, which provides farmers with access to crime prevention advice and marking equipment.

Officers can provide a property marking scheme for machinery and equipment and farmers will also be able to register up to five high-value items on the National Plant and Equipment Register.

Under the scheme, farmers receive signs to put on their property to deter thieves by showing they are part of the scheme.

Other benefits include text message alerts about farm-related crime and the option to contact the scheme by text about non-emergency crime.

If you have any information on these thefts, or are offered partridges for sale, contact PC Kevin Stoodley at Street Police Station by calling 101.

Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111, or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org

For crime prevention advice for rural areas, visit www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/communitysafety/farmwatch/ or call the police on 101.

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