Stolen elk: Farmer's relief after finding escaped animal
A farmer who had six elk stolen from a field near Yeovil has spoken of his relief at finding his "favourite" one.
Paul Richards, 56, of Wooden Top Farm in West Coker, was devastated to find thieves had cut through a boundary fence and taken six fully-grown elk sometime between Thursday, October 4 and Friday, October 5.
Two heavy-duty batteries were also stolen and a further two elk were allowed to escape.
But this morning, a neighbour helped the farmer find one of the escaped elk.
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Mr Richards said: "We managed to track one down. She's my favourite one out of all the elk. You can feed her by hand, but even with that we had to set up a way of containing her because they are huge."
Mr Richards, who also keeps bison and wild boar, fears the missing elk could be at risk from poachers.
He added: "People like me get targeted by animal rights people, then there's also a risk from poachers.
"I thank god we were here on the farm and got to it straight away, otherwise the bison could have escaped and wreaked havoc."
The farmer keeps up to 30 elk.
Police are investigating the incident and have appealed for any information which would help identify the people responsible and locate the stolen elks.
Investigating officer PC Jackie Poole said: "This is an unusual theft and would have required a vehicle, and probably quite a bit of time, to complete. I would ask people in the area at the time to cast their mind back and see if they remember seeing anything suspicious.
"I am particularly interested in speaking to anyone who has been approached about elks or elk meat or anyone who saw a vehicle in the area which was capable of stealing these animals. It is possible that dogs were used to help herd the animals. If you can help please give me a call."
Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Jackie Poole on 101. Alternatively, phone Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.