A farmer has told of his devastation after his first flock of Christmas turkeys was stolen in an overnight break-in.

CCTV footage given to the News by farmer Alasdair McNab shows two men wearing balaclavas and hoodies breaking into his turkey pen at Old Ways farm on Monday, November 27 at around 2am.

The footage shows the thieves grabbing the turkeys by the neck to remove them from the pen into a vehicle parked outside.

In total 70 bronze turkeys and a plucking machine and knives were taken from the farm, which sits on the Symondsbury Estate.

Dorset Echo:

The turkeys were due to be slaughtered ahead of Christmas and were each worth £100.

For Mr McNab, who started farming less than a year ago, this has been a heavy blow.

He said: "It appears someone broke in wearing balaclavas and hoodies.

Dorset Echo: The theft is a devastating blow for Mr McNab

"They made their way onto the farm and it seems they took down the pen and just loaded them (the turkeys) by the neck onto a vehicle.

"I am quite despondent about it and it is very frustrating.

"I had 100 bronze turkeys, it has a big impact as they are worth £100 a head so we have lost thousands. The birds are insured but I don't know how much I can recoup, if any.

"I am in the first year of farming on my own and it is a big deal going into agriculture. It is not easy, it takes a lot of time and care, and (animal) welfare is huge on my list of priorities."

Dorset Echo: Seeing the turkeys being grabbed by the neck by the thieves was particularly difficult for Mr McNab.

The bronze turkeys leave the brooder at eight weeks old and spend the rest of their life on pasture. The same can be said for the flock of laying hens.

"To see in the footage tackling the turkeys by the neck, it makes you feel that people don't care about the animals," added Mr McNab.

"These are six months old and I have just started processing them now. Whoever has taken them has done it knowing that. The work I have put into them is all for nothing.

"I am questioning whether I will do turkeys again next year."

Mr McNab has reported the crime to Dorset Police but no arrests have been made. 

The Old Ways farm uses regenerative farming methods and high-welfare farming to improve the land and produce free-range eggs, Christmas turkeys, bacon and sausages.

Mr McNab is urging anyone with information about his stolen turkeys to report it to the police, and for other farmers with turkeys to be vigilant with security.