The latest incident of illegal sheep butchery is being investigated by police in Northamptonshire, England, following reports of nine lambs killed at a farm in Clipston.

The incident happened sometime between 9:00am on Monday, July 15, and 7:00pm on Tuesday, July 16, according to local police.

The alarm was raised when a farm worker noticed that a gate leading to Horseborough Field in Oxendon Road had been interfered with.

When police officers attended, they found nine lambs illegally butchered and thrown in a ditch.

In the last 10 days, Northampton Police has received at least five reports of animals being killed and butchered in their fields overnight, including incidents in Crick, Whilton, Kelmarsh and Rushton.

Neighbourhood sergeant Sam Dobbs said: “This is yet another shocking incident for the farming community in Northamptonshire which has left them feeling vulnerable and scared.

“These criminals are not just illegally butchering animals – they are having a serious impact on people’s livelihoods.

“I do want to reassure the farming community that we are taking these incidents very seriously and have a plan in our control room to ensure that any intelligence reported to us is dealt with immediately and suspicious incidents called in are deployed to as a matter of urgency.

If you see anything suspicious, including the sale or distribution of meat in strange circumstances, please call us and report it.

“This could be the registration of a van parked in a field gateway, or a report of lights seen in a field at night – every piece of information has value so please get in touch with anything which could help,” the sergeant concluded.