Eastern Cape police rescued 25 sheep that had been stolen and stashed in a hole in the ground, a spokesperson said on Sunday.
Tembinkosi Kinana said the sheep were found in the hole at a farm in the Avondale policing precinct at Mt Fletcher on Saturday after a tip-off.
“On arrival at the scene, they indeed found about 25 livestock hidden in the dark hole,” said Kinana.
“The sheep were later identified as belonging to a local farmer who reported them stolen earlier in the day.”
The farmer had noticed them missing when he woke up on Saturday, but they were recovered by the unit on the same day.
His livestock was handed back to him but the sheep rustlers are still at large.
On July 8, Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Liziwe Ntshinga and fellow police officials met with farmers in King Williams Town to find a solution to apparent rampant stock theft along the areas bordering Lesotho.
Police stated at the time that farmers in Mt Fletcher, Ugie and Elliot were being cleaned out of due to stock theft.
Kinana appealed to residents in the affected areas to contact their local police station or call crime stop number 08 600 10 111 to pass on information on the thieves. All the information supplied will be kept confidential.
The Lesotho Times reported that due to a drought, some BaSotho were grazing over the border with South Africa, but one of the consequences was also stock theft on either side of the border.