Farm family’s anguish over missing cow

A life-size model cow had been ‘kidnapped’ after an alleged nightime ‘cattle rustle’ in the countryside.

Matilda the Cow, mascot for Joylan Farms, in Sowerby, near St Michael’s-on-Wyre, mysteriously went missing in the early hours of the morning on Thursday last week.

Matilda before she was 'stolen' from the farm shop in Sowerby

Matilda before she was 'stolen' from the farm shop in Sowerby

The cow was left outside the night before when owners Anne and John Swale went to hospital when they heard their first grandchild, Noah, was born.

Anne, 43, spoke of her horror at the suspected theft and says she just wants her “work of love” returned.

She said: “I am horrified somebody would take something of ours.

“The one night we forget to bring her in she disappears. We live quite near Myerscough College so I don’t know whether it is students having a laugh or whether she has been stolen.

I am horrified somebody would take something of ours

“It is all a bit of a mystery.”

Matilda is around 20 inches in height and two feet long and was originally pink and blue but was repainted with car body spray to give her more natural cow colours of black and white.

She usually stands proud next to the milk bar at St Michael’s Hall farm where the Swale family - who are a fourth generation farming family - sell milk, eggs, potatoes and logs.

Joylan Farms is considering offering a reward for the safe return of their beloved mascot but have not decided if it will be a monetary or a dairy reward.

And Anne urged the ‘kidnappers’ to return their beloved model cow to the award-winning farm that houses 450 pedigree Holstein cows.

She said: “I first noticed in the morning and it was really strange because we have a suggestions board on the stall and someone had written ‘put a lock on the fridge’ and added a smiley face and a kiss.

“I don’t know why anyone would take her.

“We just miss her.

“She is part of the family and a focal point on our stall.

“Every morning we carry her outside and bring her inside at night and the one night we forget, she’s gone.

“She isn’t worth any value but she has a huge sentimental value to us.

“I hope whoever has took her brings her back, we won’t be angry, we just want her back.”

The Swale family have yet to contact Lancashire Police. Call The Gazette on (01253) 361842 with any information.