Sheep rustling on increase


South west insurance firm Cornish Mutual believes the high-price of lamb could lead to a marked increase in the number of claims for sheep rustling being received.

Since the beginning of the year, the Truro-based company has dealt with a number of cases linked to animals being stolen. Recently it handled a claim for the theft of eight sheep in St Ewe.

Cornish Mutual says that some claims are still being settled, but final payouts could run into thousands of pounds. The increase has prompted the company, which has members across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset, to raise awareness of the issue – it also comes after some high-profile cases in north Devon recently.

“It could be that the high-price of lamb is having an impact on the recent spate of sheep rustling claims,” said Alan Goddard from Cornish Mutual, “We have only started to get claims for sheep rustling in the last six months or so. A ewe going for mutton can fetch around £100 these days and store lambs can go for around £60, which is a lot for sheep.”

One case near Bodmin involved the theft of 27 lamb ewes during the night earlier this year – the ewes were grazing on common ground near the farm when they vanished with the only conclusion being that they were rustled. The sheep were very close to lambing and worth around £135 each.