POLICE have been left confused after thieves stole the bolts from a farm gate – but left the gate and livestock.

The theft occurred earlier this week in Widnes, with officers from Cheshire Police’s Rural Crime Team informed.

Officers say that while it is not a major theft, it is an inconvenience for those living and working on the farm.

Thankfully, sheep in the field being secured by the gate did not escape into the road and risk being hit by passing vehicles.

PCSO Graham, from the force’s Police Rural Crime Team, said: “You may have heard people say if it is not screwed down, they will take it. Well this time they took the screws.

“Unfortunately, a farming couple who just want to farm in peace have had the bolts to the gates in their sheep field taken.

“The gate was then propped up and fortunately, none of the sheep have managed to get to a road.

“Although this has not become a major issue, it is just another inconvenience and expense the couple have to now deal with.

“Unfortunately, damage to fencing or gates is something that happens far too often in our countryside, when people object to their favourite dog walk or footpath being blocked because it is actually on private land.

“Please be considerate to landowners and do your homework if you are unsure about rights of way.”