670 sheep seized in cross-border crackdown

Police in Northern Ireland have said some 670 sheep were seized in the Bellanaleck and Derrylin area of Fermanagh on Tuesday as part of an ongoing cross-border investigation into livestock theft.

It said the sheep are believed to have been illegally imported from the Republic of Ireland. In a statement, Inspector Roy Robinson said the seizure had been part of a joint investigation into alleged cross-border criminality involving the movement of sheep.

“There have been concerns about the thefts, illegal movement and identification of livestock in border areas and a suspicion that the stolen animals were being moved across the border from both sides into the other jurisdiction,” he said.

“Illegal movement of sheep can seriously undermine traceability and is a real threat to the trade on which the industry depends.”

Late last month the Garda Síochána, the PSNI, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Northern Ireland Enforcement team and the Special Investigation Unit of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine linked up in their investigations into livestock theft, which is ongoing.

The operation involves monitoring the movement of vehicles transporting livestock, predominantly in the border counties where most of the recent livestock theft has taken place.