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Farm security stepped up after sheep butchered in field

Warning - Images of the slaughtered sheep are contained within this article

A farmer in Northamptonshire is stepping up security after five of her sheep were butchered in their fields. Credit: ITV News Anglia

A farmer in Northamptonshire is stepping up security after five of her sheep were butchered in their fields.

The flock at Grange Farm in Denton near Northampton has been targeted twice now and it's the latest in a series of sheep attacks across the county.

Police think thieves could be selling the meat they take.

Farmer Esther Arrowsmith says the loss of her sheep in very upsetting and costly. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The farmer Esther Arrowsmith says the criminals definitely know what they're doing and they know how to butcher the animals, in terms of what they're leaving behind.

The farmer Esther Arrowsmith says 'it's very neatly done' Credit: ITV News Anglia

"We've had people coming onto the farm in the night and killing the animals, butchering them on site and removing the meat from the farm. But, they then leave all of the innards, the fleece, heads, you know, just left in the fields and the hedgerows.

"So, it's really upsetting for us when we come to check the sheep in the morning and find all of those remains and it's just a horrible situation to find yourself in."

– Esther Arrowsmith, Farmer
Police want the public to report anything suspicious in the countryside. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Each sheep is more than £100 to replace but the Arrowsmiths aren't the only farmers counting the cost.

In the village of Denton alone, more than 30 sheep have been killed over the past couple of years - with farms targeted more than once - and it's costing farmers hundreds of pounds.

And across Northamptonshire, there've been six sheep attacks in the past 18 months.

Click below to watch a report by ITV News Northamptonshire reporter Sarah Cooper

"Sheep in a field at night - if you see torchlight - give us a ring, let us decide whether or not it's a crime or not, at least we can deploy out to it, if there are officers available, and see what we can find out."

– PC Chloe Gillies, Wildlife Crime Officer