A farming couple have been left heartbroken by the theft of their one and only remaining sheep - a prized Swiss Valais ewe.  

The Armstrongs, of East Fourstones Farm in the Hexham area of Northumberland, have made an appeal for the return of their sheep called Alpine Molly, which is believed to have been taken last week. 

Robert Armstrong, 71, had to sell his entire flock of sheep two years ago after having back surgery and Alpine Molly was his only tangible link to the past.

The Northern Echo:

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His wife Anne, 66, said since they had made an appeal through social media they had got calls from across the country from people wanting to help.

It included one message from someone who saw what looked like Alpine Molly in the boot of a Ford Fiesta in nearby Corbridge.

The Northern Echo: Alpine Molly, the Valaise ewe stolen from the Hexham area

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Mrs Armstong said: "We are absolutely heartbroken, Who in the whole wide world want to take our one and only Valais ewe?

""She has known no other place than ours and has given my husband pleasure after having to sell his entire flock of sheep due to needing major back surgery and not being able to lamb in the springtime.

"Alpin Molly was his only tangible link to his past. My husband was one of the top breeders of blue-face Leicesters.The Northern Echo:

"So his link with sheep ran very very deep."

She added: "Alpine Molly used to knock about the farm and also brought great pleasure to our grandchildren when they visited. 

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"She was our greeting in the mornings and our "night night" at nights. "

The Armstrongs, who have stock to tend to and crops, believe Alpine Molly could be anywhere in the country, including the North East. 

Anyone who has information has been asked to contact Northumbria Police on 101.

The Northern Echo: Alpine Molly as a lamb with her mum Wanda Alpine Molly as a lamb with her mum Wanda (Image: Contributor)