A farmer has condemned the ‘quite devastating’ theft of six calves - three of which were aged under a week old - from their mothers.
Meg Emerton was distraught to wake up and find the young animals gone from their enclosure at Hilltop Farm, in Hickling Pastures.
They were part of a 28-strong herd of cattle which Meg looks after with partner, Freddie Daws, and his father Simon.
Meg told the Melton Times: “It’s quite devastating because we’ve put our heart and soul into these animals and someone has just come and taken them away.
“It is heartbreaking for the mums - they have just been standing there dithering since it happened and hardly eating.”
The animals - three baby bull calves together with two bull calves and a heifer calf, all eight-months-old - were stolen overnight on Saturday February 23.
Meg believes the intruders must have been watching the farm to have been able to bypass the security of the animals on the farm.
No machinery was taken when the animals went missing.
“We’ve never heard of anything like this happening before,” she said.
“They’ve obviously been taken for a purpose, either to sell for money or to rear themselves.”
Since Meg posted an appeal for information about the theft on social media it has been shared an astonishing 10,000 times by people across the UK.
She added: “Luckily for us the animals are insured for theft but we are worried about their welfare.
“We don’t expect to get them back and we just hope they are being cared for properly.
“The calves which were under a week old needed to be fed properly or they wouldn’t survive.”