A farmer has been left 'absolutely devastated' after finding at least 15 sheep butchered over the weekend, adding to a string of similar incidents hitting Northamptonshire recently.
The latest incident happened between Friday night into Saturday morning (July 12/13) on Harrington Road, Kelmarsh.
Farmer Erica Hankins took to social media to describe how she saw the 'gruesome sight' that morning.
The post, which has been shared nearly 4,000 times, highlighted how the farming business has been left 'very upset' and 'absolutely devastated'.
“It makes me sick to share on Facebook... After all our hard work for this to happen and meet such a gruesome sight this morning.
“We are all very upset and feel absolutely devastated. These people are professionals - to get a lot of 120 sheep into our pens up a steep hill and then to sort them in the pens.
“They were then dragged over to a tree to hang and skin them,” she said on Facebook.
Meanwhile, police in the county were called to another illegal slaughtering incident which occurred on Saturday.
A lamb was found injured in a field in Boughton Road, after being tied up with electric fence wire.
These incidents follow two others which happened earlier last week, where livestock were killed and 'professionally butchered' in their field, according to Northamptonshire Police.
Fourteen lambs were killed in a field off the A428 between Crick and West Haddon, sometime between 4pm on Sunday 7 July and 4pm on Monday, 8 July.
The carcasses of 12 lambs were stolen and the remains left in the field, with a further two killed but left at the scene.
Between 8am on Tuesday, July 9 and 8am on Wednesday, July 10, 21 lambs were slaughtered and stolen from a field off the Nobottle Road near Whilton in Daventry, with their remains left behind in the field.
The force is now urging rural communities to look out for and report any suspicious activity to help protect livestock and catch those responsible.
Neighbourhood Inspector Scott Little said: “To have this many incidents in just a few days is extremely concerning and we are appealing for information from the rural community to help us catch those responsible.
“Inquiries are ongoing into these incidents and we are asking for anyone who may have seen or heard anything suspicious in these areas over the past week to get in touch.
“We’d also like to hear from anyone who may have any dash cam or CCTV footage that might be relevant or any other information that could assist the investigation.
“The lambs appear to have been professionally slaughtered and their carcasses have then been stolen.
“For farmers to find their animals have been killed and butchered like this is not only very upsetting, it also has financial repercussions,” he said.
Loose fencing or pens
The police are advising that any loose fencing, pens or similar equipment that may be in fields is removed and securely stored.
Inspector Little added: “If you see something that strikes you as unusual, out of the ordinary or just a bit ‘off’ please let us know by calling 101 or making a report online. If you think a crime is happening at the time, please call 999.
“Even a small piece of information may be a vital key that allows us to link similar offences and help us identify and bring those responsible for these crimes to justice.
“We also want farmers to be aware that this has been happening and neighbourhood officers will be visiting farmers and landowners on their patch over the next few days,” he said.
If you suspect someone has attempted to target your animals, or find that you’ve lost livestock in this way, please report it to the police immediately.