Warwickshire police appeal as county suffers sheep slaughter and theft

Sheep slaughter and butchering is happening on farms in Warwickshire and south Northants
Sheep slaughter and butchering is happening on farms in Warwickshire and south Northants

A spate of sheep killings and butchering in fields is worrying Warwickshire police who have appeal for help in tracing the perpetrators.

The appeal follows increasing concerns as farmers in south Northants have lost scores of sheep in the same way.

Warwickshire Police are this week asking rural communities to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity after 24 sheep were slaughtered and illegally butchered in a field near Harborough Magna overnight between Tuesday July 16 evening and Wednesday morning, July 17 July.

This new incident means that since the beginning of the year, 103 sheep have been reported butchered in fields and 74 sheep have been reported stolen from farms in Warwickshire.

Rural Crime Inspector Allison Wiggins said "We have from the beginning of the incidents been working with colleagues in neighbouring forces who have experienced similar incidents, sharing best practice, intelligence and information."

"We would like to reassure the rural community that since the incidents occurred in March, Warwickshire Police put in place Operation Hillman with procedures to ensure incidents are followed up and all means of enquiry followed through.

"All relevant staff are briefed and proactive actions taken where possible.

"The investigation and operation is ongoing and everything is being done to catch the offenders.

"The importance of communities to be vigilant, report anything suspicious in or near fields of livestock cannot be underestimated. Thank you to those that have done so already, it has been a great help. "

Police are also appealing for information on where this meat may be going to, any suspicious circumstances or information of concern to the traceability of meat in any communities, as this is not just in Warwickshire.

We are asking for the public's help in sharing this message.

Theft and illegal butchery of sheep is a serious offence, which causes suffering to the animals, financial repercussions to farmers, plus puts at risk people's health if they eat the meat.