Professional thieves stole nearly 200 pigs from a commercial farm near Frodsham .

Police are appealing for information after 178 pigs were taken from the Hatley Lane premises overnight on Sunday, possibly using a stock carrier vehicle.

Officers, who were alerted shortly after 7.30am, found unknown offenders had forced entry into the pig farm, using bolt cutters to access a shed.

Once inside the building, the suspects loaded the pigs onto a large vehicle before fleeing the scene.

The incident is believed to have occurred sometime between 6pm on Sunday, September 10 and 7am the following morning.

Detective constable Lestyn Lewis-Jones said: “We treat all reports of rural crime extremely seriously and are committed to doing everything we can to make our rural communities safer.

“Investigations in relation to this incident are currently ongoing and we are following a number of lines of enquiry; early indications suggest this incident may have been a targeted burglary.

“As part of the investigation I’m keen to hear from anyone in the local area who believes they may have witnessed anything suspicious on the night this incident occurred.

“I’d also like to urge other farmers in the local area to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity immediately by contacting us on 101.”

Anyone with any information in relation to the burglary is asked to contact Cheshire police on 101, quoting incident number 111 of 11/09/2017. Details can also be passed anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.