The Sicilian mafia was recently busted when using farming lingo as a cover to communicate with other members of the gang.

Matteo Messina Denaro, the elusive head of the mafia in Sicily, used handwritten notes hidden under rocks, to send messages to mob members, with much of the messages referring to farming jobs.

Another member, also arrested, Vito Gondola, apparently was the one to call members to alert them of each new message left under a rock in the field with the sheep.

The Guardian reports that code phrases such as “I’ve put the ricotta cheese aside for you, will you come by later?”, “the sheep need shearing” and “the hay is ready” were all code to members.

Police investigating used hidden cameras and microphones around the farm in Sicily.

Reports say that cameras had been placed in trees and the members were being filmed over several months.

The paper reports that in one recorded conversation, Gondola told another mafia member that Denaro was losing control over the younger criminals, who “disappear without saying anything”.

The 11 suspects arrested “were the men who were closest to Denaro right now”, police official Renato Cortese said, adding that it was “too early to say” whether the sting would help investigators close in on the elusive head of the mafia.

The Sicilian Mafia, known as ‘Cosa Nostra’ (translated to ‘Our Thing’), was Sicily’s most powerful organised crime group in the eighties and nineties, but following years of investigations and arrests has seen its power fall.