Gangs of animal rustlers are targeting livestock in areas close to the UN-controlled buffer zone according to South Cyprus police.
Most recently, livestock from the areas of Dali, Lympia, Potamia and Athienou have been stolen.
“The police are looking into the case and the possibility that the gangs cross over from the North although nothing has been confirmed,” police spokesman, Andreas Angelides, said.
The most recent incident, according to police, involved five young people, between the ages of 20 and 22 who stole around 40 sheep at gunpoint in the village of Athienou at 9pm on Christmas Day.
The 74-year-old owner of the sheep and his 69-year-old wife reported to police they were tied up while the robbers loaded the sheep on their truck before stealing his mobile phone, his car keys and slashing his car’s tyres. The value of the sheep is estimated to be around €4,000.
Farmers from the affected areas have demanded that police take measures to protect their property. In response, the police have increased their patrols along the buffer zone. They are calling on people who see anything suspicious on their land or property to inform them but to avoid attempting to resolve the problem themselves as gangs are often armed.