Number’s up on sheep rustlers
● Microdot markers in fleece help protect flocks
Arevolutionary new marking system has been rolled out in a bid to deter sheep rustling. Drummond Estate near Comrie, which grazes around 3,000 sheep, hosted the launch of the TecTracer theft-deterrent system yesterday.
It ingrains thousands of coded microdot markers into each sheep’s fleece, thus identifying the animal and which farm it comes from.
David Wallace, of the Drummond Estate, said that several incidents of sheep rustling had proved costly for the business and welcomed this new innovation.
“We’ve experienced first-hand how sneaky and resourceful these criminals can be,” he said.
“The remote and isolated nature of much of Scotland’s sheep grazing land and hill farms means thieves can operate unseen when they target flocks. By marking our animals with TecTracer we at least have some chance of getting them back.
“Sheep rustling is an increasing worry and this system is a valuable tool in our fight against wouldbe criminals’ intent on stealing our property and damaging our livelihoods.”
And Chief Superintendent John McKenzie, chair of the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime (SPARC), added: “This is a fantastic example of partnership working to tackle an aspect of rural crime that can impact on farming communities throughout Scotland.
“In reducing opportunities for criminality, we will be both creative and innovative as SPARC recognises the impact of crime in rural communities.
“People living, working or wanting to enjoy rural communities should have confidence in our drive to make a difference and tackle rural crime in all its forms.” John Minary, managing director of TecTracer said by using thousands of coded microdots backed up by a database, the company is providing a “multi-layered response” that protects sheep on hills and in glens.
“Where traditional ear tags can be removed, the microdots stay within the fleece and this simple preventative step turns the tables on would-be thieves, making flocks identifiable and keeping them safe,” he said.
The launch of the TecTracer comes a month after it emerged that £127,605 worth of livestock had been stolen from the Grampian region in the past four years.
Only £21,750 worth of animals were recovered safely.
In addition to this, more than 60 vehicles worth £245,119 were stolen including 25 quad bikes, 15 tractors, 12 trailers, five diggers and three forklifts.
Lorna Paterson, regional manager for the north-east at farmers’ union NFU Scotland said: “Thefts of vehicles, tools and livestock are prevalent in our region.
“And the increase in livestock worrying cases is equally concerning.
“We has been working with Police Scotland and other stakeholders in the region, sharing knowledge and building upon intelligence, with a view to mitigating this trend.”
“This simple, preventative step turns the tables on would-be thieves”
PROGRESS: The TecTracer system in grains thousands of coded microdot markers into a sheep’s fleece, identifying the animal and its home farm