NFU Cymru has joined forces with Dyfed-Powys Police to call on rural communities to be extra vigilant following the theft of sheep.

Since April 2010, Dyfed-Powys Police has received several reports of thefts as a result of which just under 1,000 sheep are believed to have been taken, with one farmer alone losing 142 sheep from his flock.

Inquiries are under way and officers are calling on farmers and everyone living in rural communities to be vigilant and to report any suspicious vehicles or anyone acting suspiciously to the police immediately.

NFU Cymru warns that sheep rustling seems to be on the increase and is still a serious problem for Welsh farmers.

Montgomeryshire county chairman, Edward Chapman, said: “It is deeply worrying for livestock farmers that this type of activity is on the increase and is starting to form an upward trend.

“We now have a significant number of sheep thefts that have occurred throughout the county and it is unlikely that Montgomeryshire is alone in facing this problem and the warning goes out to livestock farmers around the country to be on their guard.

“Sheep rustling and farm theft is a serious criminal activity and farmers need to remain vigilant, anyone who sees anything suspicious should take down any relevant information such as vehicle registration numbers and report the incident immediately to the police.”

Dyfed-Powys Police Communities and Partnerships Sergeant Kelvin Briggs said: “These are serious offences which can have a significant impact on the livelihood of the victims and the rural community at large. We are working with NFU Cymru to further call on residents to remain vigilant.

“Police officers will be stepping up patrols.”

Dyfed-Powys Police can be contacted on 101 or the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.