Sheep rustlers put behind baaaaas for fleecing farmers


Two members of a sheep farming family whose rustling caused police to hold identity parades for stolen ewes have each been jailed for three years.

Former Swaledale champion breeder Charles "Neville" Raine, 66, and his nephew Phillip, 47, were found to have 116 sheep which did not belong to them at their farms. 

They belonged to 14 farmers from County Durham, Cumbria and North Yorkshire.

The Nevilles, who farm near Bowes, County Durham, were convicted last month at Teesside Crown Court of conspiracy to use criminal property.

Police held identity parades for the rightful owners to claim their livestock after the sheep discovered at the farms were found to have had their markers removed.

That included horn brands, ear tags and the markings farmers paint on their animals' wool.

The animals had gone missing between 2010 and 2013.

Judge Tony Briggs said: "It is not just about the money, it was an attack on people's hard work, people who have gone to a lot of trouble to develop their bloodlines.

"It is entirely and utterly inexcusable."