A 12-day-old lamb stolen and left on a woman’s doorstep in a bizarre prank is having to be hand reared by a Warminster farmer after being rejected by its mother.

Jim Dufosee, 46, tenant farmer at Farnicombe Farm in Upton Scudamore, said he is mystified as to why the pedigree Lleyn lamb was taken from his field on Salisbury Plain on March 28 and left on the doorstep of a house in Pound Street.

“It’s the weirdest prank I have ever known,” he said.

“We just got a phone call at 11pm on the Saturday night to say it was Wiltshire Police and they had found one of our lambs.

“There was a police car outside the house and to be honest I wasn’t going to go in if there wasn’t, because I thought it was some kind of joke.

“Whoever did it removed the lambs ear tags but they had left its mum’s number on its side that we had written in marker paint.

“There is no connection at all as the people had only moved in the day before.”

The Pound Street resident reported the incident to police after hearing a knock on her window and looked out to see a lamb outside her front door.

The police got in touch with the vets and the markings on the lamb identified the farm it had come from.

Mr Dufosee said: “The lamb seemed in a state of shock. They need milk every six to eight hours.

“We took it home and put it in a pen and fed it, but once you have removed them for any period of time the mum won’t take them back.”

Mr Dufosee, who featured in a Waitrose advertisement in 2006 promoting local suppliers, said the thief’s actions had caused mayhem on his farm.

“The next morning when we went to check the others we found they had all been let out in the field,” he said.

“The gate had been opened and tied open and all the sheep were down to the main road. Someone has made quite a special effort.

“I was a little bit dumbstruck I must say. We thought someone was trying to have a laugh at our expense.”

The lamb will now be bottle-fed on the farm.

Anyone with relevant information on the theft are being asked to call Warminster Police on 0845 408 7000.