SHEEP have again been slaughtered and illegally butchered in Warwickshire.
The latest attack saw 24 sheep killed in Harborough Magna near Rugby.
This year 103 sheep have been reported butchered in fields and 74 reported stolen from farms across Warwickshire. Farms in Wasperton, Gaydon and Wootton Wawen have all been targeted.
Warwickshire Police is urging rural communities to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity.
Rural crime inspector Allison Wiggins said: “Theft and illegal butchery of sheep is a serious offence, which causes suffering to the animals, financial repercussions to farmers, plus puts at risk people’s health if they eat the meat.
“We have from the beginning of the incidents been working with colleagues in neighbouring forces who have experienced similar incidents, sharing best practice, intelligence and information.
“We would like to reassure the rural community that since the incidents occurred in March, Warwickshire Police put in place Operation Hillman with procedures to ensure incidents are followed up and all means of enquiry followed through.
“All relevant staff are briefed and proactive actions taken where possible.
“The investigation and operation is ongoing and everything is being done to catch the offenders.
“The importance of communities to be vigilant, report anything suspicious in or near fields of livestock cannot be underestimated. Thank you to those that have done so already, it has been a great help.
“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.”
Police are also appealing for information on where the meat may be going.
Call police on 101 or via Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Visit www.warwickshire.police.uk/RuralCrime for advice on rural crime.