A man jailed for sheep rustling has been ordered to pay £11,000 as the proceeds of his crime - or he will go back to prison.

Daniel Smith, 26, of Sutton St. Nicholas, Hereford had stolen more than 600 sheep and was caught when one of the victims saw his own sheep up for sale.

Smith pleaded guilty to four counts of theft at Hereford Magistrates’ Court on July 7, 2021.

On August 4, 2021 he was sentenced to serve eight months imprisonment.

On Tuesday (March 8) he was ordered to pay £11,000.

The sheep were stolen from four fields in the Marden, Sutton St Nicholas and Cross Keys areas of Herefordshire between November 2, 2020 and January 26, 2021.

When one of the victims identified sheep being sold as those stolen from his farm, 92 per cent of the stolen sheep were then recovered over the following two days in March 2021.

On Tuesday at Worcester Crown Court, a Confiscation Order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, was made, whereby Smith’s benefit figure from the crime was agreed to be £11,000.

The amount Smith was found to have available was also £11,000.

He has been ordered to pay this within three months - or face more time in prison if he defaults the payment.

Detective inspector Emma Wright said, “Smith has been stripped of the trappings of his crime by powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act, as a result of a financial investigation by West Mercia Police Economic Crime Unit.

"A Confiscation Order imposed, means he must pay back the full amount of £11,000, or face time in prison.”

Wildlife crime officer, PC Josh Kitchen of West Mercia Police, said: “We are pleased with the result of this investigation and hope that it reassures the farming community that livestock theft will not be tolerated and that police will fully investigate these incidents.

“Livestock thefts across the UK totalled £2.3million in 2020 and the act often causes suffering for the animals and additional financial pressures for farmers.

“I would like to thank the farmers involved for their assistance in this investigation as well as the cooperation of Hereford Livestock Market.

"Without their assistance it is unlikely these sheep would have ever been recovered.”