Police have launched an appeal after more than 20 cows were believed to have been stolen from a dairy farm in Bodmin, writes Tom Bevan.

Police issued an initial alert saying 26 cows, including several calves, had gone missing.

But a spokesman has now confirmed that the total number is thought to be 23 and it is now believed they were taken deliberately during a raid.

The cows disappeared sometime between Wednesday and Thursday morning (April 27 and 28) from the farm in Bodmin, Cornwall.

PC Chris Collins, rural affairs officer for Cornwall, said: "Thefts of sheep are reported to us from time to time but it is particularly unusual for cows to go missing.

"Our initial enquiries, and efforts by the farmer to locate his animals, have led us to believe that the cows were stolen, rather than being lost.

"Dairy cows are more used to being moved around than beef cattle, so if they were taken, they would probably have been quite amenable when loaded onto a transporter.

"The loss of so many animals has had a significant financial impact on the farmer.

"We appreciate the public's support and would like to hear from anyone who was in the area at the time of the cows going missing and may have any information which could assist our enquiries, to get in touch."

The original alert shared by Devon and Cornwall Police said: "Police are asking for information following a report that 26 Jersey cows have gone missing from Lower Bodiniel Farm in Bodmin between 10.00 hrs on Wednesday 29 and 10.30 hrs Thursday 30 April.

"The animals are listed as 10 cows each with a calf and 3 heifers.

"At this point it is not known if they have been stolen or if they have wandered off either into woodland that would lead towards Wadebridge or have been placed in a field by someone for safety "Anyone with information is asked to contact police via 101 quoting CR/034605/20."