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Wednesday, 03 September 2014

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Cumbria sheep thief jailed for three years and nine months

A Cumbria sheep thief has been sentenced to three years and nine months.

Robert Martin Birnie, 46 of Sunny Rigg, Longtown, was jailed on Monday for theft and witness intimidation.

Birine was found guilty at Carlisle Crown Court on December 2 after trial.

Between April 1, 2012 and May 18, 2012, Birine stole sheep to the value of £8,237.

Birnie removed the sheep from a neighbour farmer’s field and proceeded to sell them at various livestock auctions in Cumbria.

Through working with the Scottish EID, Police were able to confirm 132 sheep sold by Birnie had been stolen from a neighbouring farmer.

He was arrested on June 14, 2012 in connection with the incidents and charged on September 24, 2012.

Birnie attended Carlisle Crown Court on July 2 but the case was adjourned.

Later that day, Birnie went to the home address of a key witness and intimidated the witness and their family.

He was charged with this offence on July 9.

Investigating officer PC Graham Thompson said: “What Birnie did was dishonest to the whole farming community.

“There is a level of respect between farmers and to take sheep that knowingly does not belong to you and sell them as your own is despicable.

“To intimidate any witness is not tolerated and in this case the victim had the strength to continue with the case and see Birnie brought to justice.”

A compensation order for the amount of £2,008.59 was made at the time and Birnie has been ordered to pay this sum in cash which had been seized and the sale of property.

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