The PSNI has seized 670 sheep in Co Fermanagh as part of an investigation into the theft and illegal movement of sheep.
The animals, believed to have been illegally imported from the Republic, were seized in a joint operation with enforcement officers from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) at farm premises in the Fermanagh area on Tuesday.
Inspector Roy Robinson, the PSNI’s sector commander for Enniskillen and Fermanagh West, said the operation had been part of an ongoing 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.
“We have carried out a number of search operations, however this is the most significant series of finds. Dealing with rural crime is a priority for police in Fermanagh, whether that is the theft of livestock or machinery.”
Police welcome any information that local people can provide to tackle criminal activity, he said.
A PSNI spokeswoman said there were no arrests made.
The sheep were recovered in the Bellanaleck and Derrylin areas as part of a “proactive” police investigation, he said.
Danny Gray from the DARD Veterinary Service Enforcement Branch said they had been working closely with the PSNI in a number of similar cases.
“Illegal movement of sheep can seriously undermine traceability and is a real threat to the trade on which the industry depends,” he said.