A Derbyshire family has been left devastated after thieves stole a number of sheep that were being saved as a gift for a young child.
Police are investigating a number of livestock thefts in the last few days in Derbyshire. Seventeen lambs were taken from one location, along with approximately 20 sheep hurdles and a number of feed troughs. A further four ewes, one tup and one sheep hurdle have also been stolen from another location.
The thefts, which occurred in the Brailsford and Mackworth areas, are believed to have occurred during the night.
Derbyshire Rural Crime Team said: "Becoming a victim of theft is never a pleasant experience, many of you will be all too aware of this.
"However when an animal is stolen, be it a pet or otherwise the impact can be devastating.
"In this particular case the owner of the 4 ewes and tup had reduced his number of livestock due to failing health, keeping 5 animals back for his young grandson as a gift and so he could learn about the animals and have a memory of where they came from and keep the bloodline going if he wished. These animals are now gone. The family are devastated; it is not the value but what they represent that has been lost.
"The 17 lambs that have been stolen have been looked after and reared through what was a hard winter and a difficult summer for livestock.
"The owner has spent a great deal of money caring for these animals only to have them stolen, they are now considering whether to replace them or give up on rearing altogether.
"Theft from rural communities has long lasting effects that are felt long after the item has been stolen. Please be vigilant and report anything suspicious."
Anyone with any information on the thefts is asked to contact the rural crime team on 101, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.