Pig hustlers strike at farm

By Lisa CleverdonFARMERS have been warned to tighten their security after pig hustlers stole £25,000-worth of livestock during a daytime raid on a farm.

By Lisa Cleverdon

FARMERS have been warned to tighten their security after pig hustlers stole £25,000-worth of livestock during a daytime raid on a farm.

The theft, which happened in Elveden, on Saturday, is the second to take place in East Anglia this year and is thought to be the work of someone with inside knowledge of the livestock industry.

About 470 piglets were loaded onto a lorry during the raid after thieves forced gates leading to an outbuilding.

Ian Campbell, regional manager for the National Pig Association, has asked his members to be on the lookout for the stolen animals, even though he believes they may well have been taken out of the area.

“It will be very difficult for whoever is responsible for this theft to sell the pigs to an abattoir in this part of the country,” he said.

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“They will not be able to go through the normal system because most abattoirs will only accept livestock which has been registered and has come from a Farm Assured outlet.”

He added: “The pigs will have to be grown for around another eight weeks before they are ready for slaughter and I think that whoever has done this must have already known where they were headed, which is probably an empty farm or building somewhere.

“It is not an easy job to transport and look after that amount of pigs unless you know exactly what you are doing and you would have to know of an abattoir that would be willing to accept the animals.”

A similar theft took place in January when 100 piglets were stolen from a farm in Kings Lynn.

“Suffolk is known for its mainstream pig production, but there are other parts of the country where few questions may be asked if someone tried to sell these animals,” said Mr Campbell.

“Thefts of this nature are unusual, but farmers need to be aware that they do take place and they should do everything they can to protect their animals.”

Brian Finerty, regional public relations officer for the National Farmers' Union, added: “I am often giving security advice to farmers and there are always steps that can be taken to ensure farms are secure.

“I have not come across a theft as big as this in four years, but although it is very rare, farmers to need to be extra vigilant in light of what has happened.”

Anyone with information should contact Pc Gregory Mills, of Suffolk police, on 01284 774100 or Crimestoppers on 555111.


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