Theft of sheep in Northants and Melton Mowbray.
64 ewes stolen over the border in West Haddon, Northamptonshire, as sheep thefts continue
More ewes have been stolen as the sheep theft spate continues. (Image: Getty Images)
More than 60 ewes have been stolen from a field as a spate of sheep theft continues.
64 ewes were stolen from a field just over the border near West Haddon in Northamptonshire.
It is believed the animals were stolen between 3pm on Wednesday August 7 and 3pm on Thursday Wednesday 8.
Northamptonshire Police, who are investigating the crime as part of Operation Stock, believe a trailer was used to steal the sheep.
This latest crime comes after several other reports of livestock being stolen or slaughtered,
Seven pregnant ewes due to lamb within days have been slaughtered and butchered at a farm near Lutterworth.
It’s the second sickening attack on sheep in the area within a couple of days.
Farmer Joy Deacon described the slaughter of the pregnant ewes at the family farm in Wibtoft, on the Leicestershire/Warwickshire border as “heart wrenching” and “sickening”.
On Friday, devastated smallholder Julie Steele found the dismembered remains of the five pet sheep she had hand reared from lambsin a field in Gaddesby Lane, Kirby Bellars, near Melton.
Four of the five sheep Angel, Pippy and Bed in foreground, Pesky at the rear, owned by Julie Steele, slaughtered in a field in Kirby Bellars, near Melton. (Image: Julie Steele)
The force has joined up with Leicestershire Policeand Warwickshire Police to use drones and other means to put a stop to this spate of illegal activity.
Sergeant Sam Dobbs for Northamptonshire Police said: “We are treating this incident as part of our ongoing Operation Stock investigation, and from evidence at the scene we believe some sort of trailer was used to steal these ewes.
“This incident sadly highlights the need for ongoing vigilance from everyone – farmers, residents and everyone living, working or passing through our countryside.
“If you see something which seems unusual or suspicious, please call police immediately – the information you provide could be crucial to our investigation.”
Sheep theft and slaughter. Latest News –
This morning’s raids (Sat). Credit: Northants Police
A 39-year-old Coventry man was arrested on suspicion of theft and criminal damage and remains in police custody.
Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Johnny Campbell, of Northampton CID, said: “This morning’s job has entailed around 25 officers from Northamptonshire and Warwickshire forces, including a specialist search team.
“Their searches will continue today, both of the premises attended and associated vehicles. We are running this as a multi-agency joint enforcement operation, with partners here from Trading Standards and Environmental Health.
“This enforcement operation demonstrates how seriously we are taking this crime series, and how intent we are on catching those responsible and bringing them to justice.”
This morning’s raids. Credit: Northants Police/Northamptonshire Chronicle
Pictures released by police show joints of meat found in a freezer at one of the raids.
In recent months sheep have been stolen from, or butchered at the scene, at fields across Northamptonshire and neighbouring counties.
Police are connecting the West Haddon theft to a string of incidents in Northamptonshire, which has seen 81 lambs and sheep killed and 258 stolen since February.
Officers believe the animals which have been killed – many of them butchered in the fields where they were grazing – are then being sold illegally to restaurants and shops.
health and trading standards officers were involved in searches of the four properties in Coventry
Trading standards and environmental health officers were also involved in the searches.
The raids were carried out as part of Operation Stock, which is investigating the illegal slaughter and theft of sheep across the county.
It is linked to similar inquiries in neighbouring counties, including Warwickshire.
The Northamptonshire force has been using a drone as part of its night patrols and has distributed 150 warning signs to farmers and landowners.
Police are urging people living in rural parts of the county to remain vigilant.
Image copyright PARK END FARMING Image caption Farmer Phil Neal shared this graphic image on Facebook after 14 of his lambs were butchered in July