East Anglia: Turkey rustling warning

Farmers in East Anglia are being warned to be on the alert for turkey rustlers in the lead-up to Christmas.

Months of hard work can be wiped out in a few hours when thieves strike.

Farmers and landowners in the East of England have been urged to be on their guard against foul play by Christmas poultry thieves.

In its annual security reminder landowners’ organisation the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is warning smallholders in particular to be on the lookout for bird rustlers eager to cash in on the traditional seasonal demand for turkeys, chickens, geese and ducks.

But all poultry producers must take extra care to combat raiders who are quick to punish poor farmyard security, says the CLA.

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CLA East director Nicola Currie said: “Specialist poultry farms are usually well protected with modern alarm systems and sophisticated security technology. But even they should be extra alert day and night during the run-up to December 25 and never underestimate the audacity and determination of thieves seeking poultry to steal.

“However, it is often the ordinary farmer rearing birds for family, friends and regular customers who proves to be the most vulnerable target for poultry rustlers. Failure to take strict security precautions to safeguard their flock could be rewarded with a miserable Christmas when they find an empty shed one morning and months of work and investment wiped out in one night.

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“Don’t forget one of the oldest - but still one of the most efficient and cost-effective farmyard alarm systems – an alert dog with sensitive hearing and a loud bark.”

The CLA is advising farmers to keep their flock in a structurally sound building with locked doors and sealed windows, as close to the farmhouse as possible, and to keep a lookout for any strange vehicles parked nearby and note registration numbers – their owners could be planning a poultry raid.

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