Regional: 21st technology utilised to apprehend sheep butchers

The drones thermal camera easily makes both the sheep and the road recognisable
The drones thermal camera easily makes both the sheep and the road recognisable

Northamptonshire Police has been using the force drone to keep an eye on livestock overnight as an investigation into illegal sheep butchery continues.

Operation Stock is the force response to a number of reports of the illegal butchery of lambs and sheep across the county, with the investigation supported by officers from the Rural Crime Team, Neighbourhood Policing Teams, CID and more.

Using the drone’s thermal image technology and flying no higher than 400ft, its operators can monitor large rural areas, with any heat sources such as livestock, people or vehicles shown up in bright yellow.

If any suspicious activity is spotted, the operators can liaise with officers on the ground to check it out.

The drone patrols are being carried out alongside ongoing ground patrols and community engagement by officers, who are also linked in with neighbouring forces who have seen similar incidents.

As the investigation into the illegal slaughter incidents continues, the force is reminding anyone who sees anything suspicious to call 101 quoting Operation Stock, or 999 in an emergency.