Missing sheep are now being treated as ‘theft’ case

Police have confirmed they are now actively investigating a suspected case of sheep theft on Lewis, following the Gazette’s publication of the incident two weeks ago.

By Murray MacLeod
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 3:33 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 3:34 pm
Some of the missing sheep.
Some of the missing sheep.

According to the owner of the animals, Ruth MacDonald, a crofter in Laxay, Lewis, they initially did not pursue the matter as they were unclear whether a crime had taken place.

However, it’s now emerged they will probe the matter further, following publication of the incident and a subsequent approach from Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil.

Ruth said: “After the article, the MP emailed the police station given I got nowhere the first time with them. They then came out the day the email was sent and took my statement. The MP said he got a reply from the police and he told me they are now treating it as theft.”

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Two weeks ago, the Gazette reported on the mysterious case of the missing sheep.

A total of 32 sheep –18 of which were in lamb – went missing on the moor and despite widespread searches and appeals there has been no sign.

The missing sheep will have green spray over the shoulders and a “raddle” mark on the backend, with “Macdonald, 6 Laxay” on their ear-tags.

Constable Rick Henderson, from Stornoway Police Station, said: “Due to the number of sheep missing, it is possible that a vehicle, such as a trailer, was used to remove them from the area.

“We’re keen to speak with anyone who witnessed the theft, or saw any suspicious activity in the area. We’re also interested in speaking with anyone who believes they may have been offered the sale of these sheep recently.”