Wool has been fleeced of its sheep.
The aptly named town in southeast England was the target of a gang of sheep thieves that took off with 160 animals in a raid that took place between 8am on Saturday 2 November and 2.30pm on Monday, the Bournemouth Echo reports.
“If anyone has been offered sheep in unusual circumstances or for very low prices please contact the police,” Police Constable Adam Taylor, of Wareham Police, said in a statement. ““I am appealing to witnesses and anyone who may have seen any unusual activity in the area around this time.”
Authorities believe the thieves had some knowledge of livestock and a vehicle large enough to move the sheep from their field which lies next to the A352 highway. The sheep were all marked and electronically tagged.
The UK has experienced a slew of sheep thefts in the past year. According to the National Farmers' Union, about $800,000 worth of livestock were stolen in 2012. Most of the animals were believed to have gone back into the food chain, the Bournemouth Echo reports.
The rising price of lamb meat may contribute to the rise of sheep thefts. In 2012, the retail price of lamb rose by 34 percent, the BBC reported. Now, farmers are arming their livestock with high-tech tools like DNA and retina scanning to identify stolen sheep.
Robin Dean, a British farmer, used this technology along with the help of vigilant farmers to recover his livestock that were taken from his property.
"I went into the field one morning and 55 were missing - it was a shock, I was annoyed someone had come along and taken them,” he said. “We had to prove these were our sheep and to do this they used DNA parentage testing - I think it's obviously another tool in the armory that can be used to prevent thefts, but the best deterrent is probably vigilance."
In the United States, farmers have also been robbed of their livestock. More than 20 Boer goats, valued at $10,000, were stolen from a Hawaii farm in September. Authorizes speculated the thieves duct taped the goats’ mouths shut to stifle their screams.
“It had to be very traumatic for the animals. They knew that they’d scream, so they were taping their mouths shut and they weren’t small guys. They were huffing them over fences and dragging them down hills,” owner Keal Pontin told KHON2.