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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Meat thieves 'butchered' lambs in Cumbrian field

Butchered lambs, stripped of their meat, have been found by a devastated farmer in his Ravenglass field.

Two dead lambs were dismembered, leaving only their carcasses. A third lamb was found barely alive and a fourth, which had been shot in the ear, has survived.

Julia Watson, who owns the sheep, says she is furious with the “lowlifes” who butchered the animals – and she warned that the stolen meat is unfit for human consumption because the sheep were recently given a routine treatment for worms and scab, a contagious parasitic disease.

She said: “People who might be tempted buy cheap meat from unknown sources should know that it could be contaminated with animal medicines or chemicals that make it unfit for human consumption.”

Mrs Watson says her husband Barry found the carcasses in the field, near to their Main Street home, early last Friday after a walker spotted the dead sheep.

She said: “He found two dead lambs and a third lamb dying from a neck wound – it died shortly after. Another lamb had been wounded in the ear, a very lucky escape.

“The dead lambs had been shot and butchered in the field, in the mud, and the meat taken, leaving only their skin and bones.

“Barry couldn’t believe it. He said it looked as if professionals had butchered the lambs as the meat had been taken off in neat cuts. This happened in a quiet village where the field is part of it, near a footpath often used by locals for walking their dogs. These terrible people were probably disturbed, which is possibly why the third lamb wasn’t butchered, although it does make me wonder if they even made sure the lambs were dead before they started cutting them up.”

She added: “I am furious. We just don’t know why anyone would do that. We have heard about sheep being stolen, but I’ve never heard of sheep being butchered in a field. I think whoever has done it has used a rifle and silencer.”

She said the attackers might have killed the sheep on site as the animals weigh around 30kg each and would be difficult to move.

A police spokeswoman said: “Police investigations are ongoing. We take these matters very seriously as they are distressing to all members involved, whether it be the owners of the animals or the members of the public who find the animals.

“We urge anyone who sees anything suspicious to contact us immediately.”

Police are urging farmers to join the Farm Watch Scheme. For more details, go to www.cumbria.police.uk. To report any information, contact police on 101.

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