AROUND 50 vehicles were stopped by police in Leominster on August 9.

Officers from Leominster Safer Neighbourhood Team led a successful multi-agency ‘Stop That Sheep’ operation, pulling over agricultural and livestock transport, trade vans and drop side lorries. Two check points were set up, one on Old Hereford Road and the other on Mill Street, to intercept vehicles on their way to Hereford market.

SNT officers checked vehicle and driver documentation, ensured the roadworthiness of vehicles, and confirmed the legitimate ownership of trailers being pulled and plant machinery being carried.

“Our objective was engagement first and enforcement where necessary,” said Sergeant Nicola Holgate of Leominster SNT.

“Most people stopped were happy to see us as some had themselves fell victim to rural crimes such as stolen machinery and plant, or livestock theft.”

“We were positively received by the public and, fortunately, there wasn’t a huge requirement for police advisories on this occasion.”

The Herefordshire Council Animal Health and Welfare Team and Herefordshire Council Community Protection Team were also involved with the operation, as part of an increasing amount of active efforts to engage with agricultural communities as the cost of rural crime continues to rise.

Animal welfare officers checked documentation for livestock on board and the suitability of vehicles being used to transport, while the enforcement teams looked at scrap and waste carriers and looked out for fly tipping offences.

Regarding previous ‘Stop That Sheep’ measures, PCSO Stephanie Harper, of Leominster Police, said: "This is not the first time we have run this same operation, it was originally in response to a spike in ewes and lambs being stolen across the county before covid."