AN 82-year-old farmer says he “doesn’t know where to turn” because sheep keep disappearing from his farms.

Jack Jones, who owns farms in Llansannan and Holywell, said 16 Lleyn ewes were lost from his Conwy land at some point since July when he last counted the flock. He does not know whether they strayed from the fields or were stolen.

A study by farm insurance firm NFU Mutual this year found that more farmers in North Wales are installing CCTV on their property to get “peace of mind” amid a rise in livestock rustling, while more sheep are being taken per theft.

Mr Jones said he regularly worries about rural crime but he cannot patrol his fields like he used to due to a decline in health.

“I don’t know where the sheep have gone,” he said.

“10 sheep were stolen from my farm in Holywell in February and I informed the police, but I did not get them back. I’m losing sheep all the time.

“I have to pay my rent and workers and to then lose sheep is ridiculous. I don’t know where to turn now.”

In January, 143 sheep were snatched from fields in near Wrexham and, in April, 63 Texel cross-in lambs were stolen from a farm in Tremeirchion, near St Asaph.

Mr Jones said his flock from Llansannan have a green mark on their shoulder and a tag number UJ705274.

“Hunters of sheep are taking advantage and I’m very annoyed,” he added.

“Why can’t the police catch them?”

On August 31, North Wales Police announced that its Rural Crime Team (RCT) – which tackles countryside crimes including livestock rustling, badger baiting and vehicle thefts – will be given three extra officers, bringing the unit up to a total of 11.

Rob Taylor, RCT team manager, said at the time: “This increase in the size of the team is very important to us because we are facing growing demands and have been involved in three court cases in the last ten days, all successful prosecutions.”

The Rural Crime Team has been approached for comment following the latest theft.