The police on both sides of the Irish border have issued a warning to farmers after a spate of livestock thefts.
Last week, 14 bullocks were stolen from a field near Dungannon, County Tyrone, at a cost of more than £22,000.
Barclay Bell, vice president of the Ulster Farmers Union (UFU), said cattle rustling was a recurring problem in the south Tyrone area.
Mr Bell said the UFU estimated that "something like 173 cattle have disappeared" since January 2012.
'Financial drain' "On top of that, there have been quite a few sheep that have been stolen as well, so there does seem to be a particular problem in that area."
"Up until now, it's probably something farmers haven't thought an awful lot about. I suppose we reckoned that when our livestock were in our fields they were safe.
"Every time one of these animals is stolen now, you can be talking £1,000 to £1,500 and it is a huge financial drain on the agricultural industry," Mr Bell added.
The UFU vice president said it was difficult to understand the level of theft, given the rules on livestock identification, registration and traceability. More....