Guard on flocks after rustlers slaughter prized sheep
Reporter: KEN BENNETT
Date online: 16 December 2013
Raiders using trained dogs have rounded up and butchered valuable pedigree sheep.
More than 100 sheep have been stolen and killed in sophisticated raids by thieves targeting specific farms.
Police and the National Farmers Union (NFU) have launched a Farm Watch scheme to try to combat the spate of thefts in Saddleworth.
Darren Hough, who has a 265-acre farm at Wharmton, Saddleworth, says the attackers have stolen and killed more than 30 of his prized flock.
“They use lurcher crossbreed and pit-bull terriers to grab and hold sheep down. They slaughter them on the spot and pack them into a freezer van. They are destroying my — and other farmers’ — livelihoods.”
PC Mark Clough, with the Saddleworth and Lees Neighbourhood police team, said: “Hill farmers have a proud tradition going back centuries. They must be protected.”
Matthew Gummerson, the NFU’s spokesman, said: “The thieves have targeted the best livestock available and used working dogs to separate them from the rest of the flock, ensuring they get the maximum value from a stolen load.
“We have witnessed sheep with crossbow bolts and arrows lodged in their skulls - a very cruel action and inhumane towards livestock. They often are left to die in terrible agony from their wounds.”
“They have also taken things to the extremes of butchering lambs in the field and loading refrigerated vans.
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