Rural crime: Stolen sheep found dumped along the highway | Photos, pictures

SOCIAL media and the public's help have played a part in the return of 100 sheep that were stolen from the region a week ago.

The theft of the dohne merino sheep was first reported by Australian Community Media and on social media on April 17.

The theft occurred sometime between March 30 and April 11 from a rural property on Dry Creek Road at Lewis Ponds, around 25 kilometres east of Orange.

Then, just three days later, the majority of the livestock, which had now been shorn, were found walking on Gundong Road at Tomingley, about 15 kilometres east of the Newell Highway.

This is more than 150 kilometres away from where they were stolen.

NSW Police State Rural Crime Co-ordinator Detective Inspector Cameron Whiteside said officers were notified of the discovery on April 20 and found the livestock consistent in appearance to the 100 stolen sheep.

MAP: The stolen sheep were transported 150km before being dumped

The eartags had been removed and the sheep had been shorn after they were stolen.

A number of stolen sheep remain outstanding.

Det Insp Whiteside said the initial social media post about the theft of the sheep was shared more than 200 times and reached more than 21,000 people.

"Thank you for the support as we are confident this has aided the return of the livestock," he said.

"We believe the interest on social media, and subsequent media attention in relation to the theft has influenced the offenders to dump the sheep."

Det Insp Whiteside said police remain committed to recovering the outstanding sheep and have made a number inquiries in the area.

"We are confident that there is more than one person responsible for this theft, and that there are people out there that know exactly what has taken place. We encourage those people to contact us," he said.

"If you saw anything suspicious in these areas, Tomingley, Lewis Ponds and surrounds, we want to hear from you.

"Perhaps you may have innocently shorn the sheep, received the wool or have knowledge of those that were involved."

Anyone with information on this matter is urged to contact their local police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.