The owner of a small flock of sheep in Perthshire has locked her new lambs up for their own safety after one was stolen before being found dumped at he side of the road.
Georgia Garside, from South Littleton Farm, Blairgowrie, is now worried that her farm has been targeted by thieves.
The sign at the end of the farm road, which advertises Georgia’s dog park, was vandalised with a mystery marking on Tuesday.
And Georgia was horrified when she discovered her two week old lamb was missing from the field on Wednesday morning.
It is feared the mark was used as a sign to crooks to signal lambs lived on the property, after dogs in neighbouring houses had been heard barking at potential trespassers through the night.
‘I was very concerned’
Georgia said: “A score appeared on the sign overnight and then immediately after that my lamb was taken from the field it was in.
“I know that there has been a spate of lambs being taken in Perthshire and I believe this marking on the sign is to indicate that I have the animals living here.
“There is no way the lamb could have got out of the field itself.
“I was very concerned for it as it needed to be with its mum for feeding.
“We searched everywhere for it but there was no sign of it or any sign of blood indicating it might have been hurt.”
‘I think the lamb was taken’
Georgia remained worried for the welfare of the lamb throughout Wednesday before, through sheer luck, one of her friends found the two-week-old at the side of the road.
It meant relief for Georgia and her family – but she has now increased security measures in fear of a similar incident taking place.
She said: “I think the lamb was taken and then either got away or was dumped. There have been several reported incidents in Perthshire recently of lambs being taken.
“It was such a relief to get it back and for it to be safely reunited with its mum before any really harm came to it.
“I’m not taking any more chances until I can get security cameras fitted to keep an eye on what’s going on in the fields.”
Police to investigate
Georgia said she had reported the incident to the police who had confirmed to her that they would investigate her concerns.
Some pure bred and rare lambs can sell for thousands of pounds, making them a key target for thieves.
Earlier this week, staff at a Scots visitor centre issued a desperate appeal for help to trace two tiny lambs feared stolen overnight.
The babies were discovered missing from the Almond Valley Heritage Centre in West Lothian on Tuesday morning, just hours after being born.
Police Scotland has confirmed it is investigating the incident.