POLICE have launched an investigation after almost 70 piglets were stolen from a Hampshire farm.

The six-week-old animals, which were snatched from a farm at Damerham, near Fordingbridge between May 20 and May 28, have the reference number HB0789 tattooed on them.

Officers from the Countrywatch team are investigating the theft and are keen to hear from anyone with information.

A Hampshire police spokesman said: "The 67 piglets were being kept in their family groups, which is important for pigs as they are social animals.

"Moving them to a different location could expose them to dangerous bugs and cause unnecessary stress which may lead to premature death.

"Have you noticed any new piglets at a smallholding or similar location recently?

"The farmer who owns the piglets is understandably extremely concerned for their welfare and we want to hear from anyone who can assist with our enquiries."

Anyone with information can call Hampshire police on 101, quoting crime reference number 44200190321.

Alternatively they can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or email countrywatch@hampshire.pnn.police.uk.