SHEEP have been butchered in a spate of thefts around Warwickshire.
Seven sheep were killed and butchered in a yard at Wibtoft near Rugby on March 2.
Police were called to a farm in Wasperton shortly after midnight on march 7 where thieves were disturbed but escaped with a pregnant ewe.
And 12 ewes were killed and butchered in a field at a farm in Gaydon two days later.
Similar incidents have recently been reported in neighbouring Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, and officers from all three counties are working on the investigation.
Warwickshire Police rural crime officer Carol Cotterill said: “Theft and illegal butchery of sheep is a serious offence, which can cause suffering to the animals and financial repercussions to farmers.
“There is also concern that if offenders are chasing the sheep before catching them. This may cause problems with the rest of the flock such as health risks to the ewes and unborn lambs.
“We are warning all sheep farmers to stay extra vigilant, particularly those who have fields in more remote locations. Always ensure gates are locked and are in good working order.
“If you suspect someone has attempted to target your animals, or find that you’ve lost livestock in this way, please report it to police immediately.”
She added people should be mindful of being offered meat for sale in suspicious circumstances, and urged anyone with any information on any of the recent incidents to call police on 101, or 999 in an emergency.
Visit www.warwickshireruralwatch.co.uk for advice on rural crime.