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South Devon sheep butchered for meat in fields
7:00am Saturday 2nd March 2013 in Devon
Police are investigating a series of attacks in south Devon where sheep appear to have been killed for meat.
Around 10 sheep or lambs have been killed and butchered for meat on farmland in the Newton Abbot and Teign Valley areas.
Offenders struck on remote farmland at least eight times between November 2012 and February 2013, leaving the unwanted remains of the animals behind.
Police are warning people not to buy any mutton or lamb meat offered for sale as many of the animals had just been vaccinated and the meat is unfit for human consumption.
PC Lawrence Wills, based at Chudleigh, said: “There have been at least eight offences in recent weeks and months both in the Higher Ashton and Ilsington areas. The manner in which most of the animals were attacked suggests that the person responsible may have some knowledge of butchery.
“Some of the animals killed recently had been vaccinated in the last two weeks. This is unusually late in the season because of the wet weather. Farmers usually leave at least two months after innoculation before the meat is toxin-free and put into the food chain.
“We would urge any individual or business not to buy any cheap mutton or lamb offered for sale in Devon and Cornwall because of the risks to human health.”
Police are working with Teignbridge District Council’s environmental health department to investigate the offences and are urging farmers to come forward to report any similar attacks.
“We would also like to hear from any farmers who may have seen similar offences on their lands. It could be that they have not reported them or believed the animals to have been attacked by dogs or other animals.”
Anyone with any information about the attacks or has been offered meat for sale is asked to contact PC Wills on 101, quoting crime reference JA/13/114.