Trading Standards officers have rescued a flock of frightened sheep which were apparently dumped by rustlers.
Investigations revealed that the sheep had been rustled from farms across Scotland and attempts are now being made to reunite the animals with their owners.
But it is still a mystery as to how and why the sheep ended up wandering around Kilwinning.
Scott McKenzie, Senior Manager Protective Services at North Ayrshire Council, said: “On Wednesday morning, 13 sheep were discovered by a member of the public wandering on a road in
“For their safety, the animals were moved to a secure yard on a former farm steading where the owner of the property cared for them until Trading Standards were able to make more appropriate care provision.
“Trading Standards made an arrangement with Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Trust, Gateside, Beith, to take care of these animals.
“This has allowed Trading Standards officers to concentrate their efforts on identifying the owners of each animal and making arrangements for their safe return.
“It appears that the sheep come from all over Scotland but there is no current explanation of how the animals arrived in Kilwinning.
“We have so far made contact with one farmer, who owns two of the sheep, and he confirmed that the sheep had been rustled.
“Further enquiries, in conjunction with our colleagues at Police Scotland, will be required to establish the sequence of events leading up to the discovery of the sheep.
“In any event, because of the assistance of Hessilhead, we expect the sheep to be returned to their home farms. Trading Standards are very grateful to both members of the public and to Hessilhead for helping to ensure the animals’ welfare and safety.”