WARNINGS have been issued to livestock owners after burglars struck at two rural outposts.
Sheep rustlers stole nine pregnant ewes that were just about to give birth in Holmfirth.
And horses were left traumatised after thieves ransacked their Netherthong stables in the latest in a series of similar crimes.
The rustlers took sheep worth more than £1,200 from a field off Dunford Road, Holmfirth, between 7pm Thursday and 7am Friday.
Owner Darren Lees said: “It’s disgusting, I don’t know how they can live with themselves.
“We are only a small family farm and have worked hard to build it up to this stage and these sheep will just have been taken and slaughtered to sell as meat.
Mr Lees, 35, who runs the farm with partner Kelly Briggs, 27, said the police had told him they could not follow up the crime because of a lack of evidence.
He said: “They weren’t interested. What are honest, hardworking people supposed to do when they take that attitude?”
Meanwhile, burglars stole a trailer, saddles, bridles and other tack when they broke into a small holding in Netherthong.
They rifled through drawers, even took bags of horse food and some hair cut from the tail of one of the horses and kept as a memento by owner Mandy Walker.
Mrs Walker wept as she told the Examiner: “When we found them the horses were absolutely traumatised, running around and really upset.
“I feel completely violated. I don’t understand how someone could do this sort of thing to another human being.”
Mrs Walker and her husband, Stephen, who have had the small holding for about 10 years, were both out when the break-in happened between 3pm and 5pm on Monday.
Mr Walker returned to find Mrs Walker’s brand new £5,500 horse trailer gone and another trailer damaged.
Former nurse Mrs Walker said: “I think they must have been watching us and knew our daily routine because we are always out at that sort of time.
“I don’t think we can afford to start again – it has taken us 30 years to get to build this up.”
The burglary was the latest in a long string of such incidents across the Huddersfield area.
A man was charged last month with stealing equipment from Westwyns Riding School on Manchester Road, Marsden, and police are launching a campaign called Horse Watch to crack down on horse crime.
Insp Mark Trueman, who is leading the operation, urged livestock owners to ensure they had the best possible security measures.
He added: “These incidents highlight that these locations are usually isolated areas. This is extremely distressing and costly for the victims. People should call us if they see anyone behaving suspiciously.”