A farmer who had £30,000 worth of pedigree sheep stolen at the weekend suspects someone local is responsible.
Dan Towers said the theft of 58 pregnant Beltex ewes from his farm at Wray was a major setback for his business.
They were stolen from a lambing shed at Scale House Farm, beside Curwen Hill Farm.
Mr Towers, 22, who only recently took over the tenancy of the 120-acre site to farm sheep and cattle, said: “It’s disastrous. Somebody knew exactly what they were doing. I think somebody local definitely knows about it.
“It’s a major organised crime; it’s not a typical opportunist theft. Someone has been watching me and knew there were sheep in there.
“I got my first pedigree sheep when I was 12 years old. It was a hobby then, but now it is my business.”
The raid happened overnight on Friday, February 7-8.
Police believe the offenders carried out a “reconnaissance” trip beforehand and would have had access to a livestock transporter.
Mr Towers went on: “They aren’t just your average sheep; they need a lot of care and attention at lambing time so they will need a vet. I want to ask anyone who has seen any vehicles, a small lorry or sheep trailer passing through local villages to contact police.”
The animals were marked with a red ‘K’ on their backs and red marks on their heads.
They also had ear tags with ‘BE’ and ‘UK’ markings as some originally came from Belgium. It is feared the sheep were stolen to be retagged, sold on or slaughtered.
Mr Towers said he was overwhelmed at the support he has been shown with his Facebook appeal shared more than 4,000 times.
He added: “I’m determined to keep driving forward, but it’s a setback and will hit the business.” Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Andy Massingham at Lancashire Police on 101.