Sheep have been illegally butchered on another Northamptonshire farm, the second such case in the county this week.
It follows an incident on Monday where more than a dozen sheep were slaughtered on a farm near Crick.
The latest incident happened on a farm near Whilton on Tuesday. 21 lambs were found butchered in the fields.
Northamptonshire Police, calling the crimes 'gruesome and sickening', believe the incidents are linked.
It is now increasing its presence in rural areas in the county and will be conducting car searches at night.
Sgt Sam Dobbs, said: “The animals were stolen at a considerable loss of income to the farmer, who had reared them since birth in March.”
He said it was 'unlikely' that the meat would be sold locally.
“The two incidents have understandably caused shock and repulsion in the local and social media community,” he added.
Just back from middle of nowhere countryside in Whilton where 21 four month-old lambs unlawfully rounded up, slaughtered & butchered in this makeshift corral last night. Gruesome. Farmer, SOCO & us sickened. Linking this to Crick incident. Working on fuller NH Alert update/appeal pic.twitter.com/3M4iELTcKq— Sam Dobbs (@sgtsamdobbs) 10 July 2019
The number of sheep illegally butchered in fields is on the rise across the UK, according to police figures from April.
Farmers and wider rural communities have been told to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity.
Police believe incidents are more likely to happen on clear nights when there is better visibility from the moonlight - in particular when there is a fuller moon.
Offenders may be visiting the area beforehand in daylight to plan the crime, and they may also park their vehicle where they cannot be seen.
Livestock crime prevention advice
• If you own livestock or live near fields with livestock in please be extra vigilant and report any concerns to police
• Report suspicious vehicles to police
• Where possible graze livestock in fields away from roads
• Review any weak points in fields in remote locations in particular where sheep are grazed near a main road
• If your field is down a quiet track consider parking a vehicle to block access
• Padlock field gates and ensure gates and boundaries are in good order
• Consider checking your sheep on clear nights, in the early hours of the morning
• Join the Rural Watch scheme
• Set up a Whatsapp group to share information
• Consider grazing other animals with sheep to deter offenders
• Contact your rural crime adviser to discuss crime prevention notices, cameras etc
• Put your safety first and dial 999 if you believe an incident is in progress