Man arrested in connection to illegal field butchery

A man has been arrested as a Northamptonshire Police investigation into illegal sheep butchery ramps up.

Dubbed ‘Operation Stock’, the inquiry hopes to get to the bottom of several reports of sheep being killed and illegally butchered in fields across the county. NFU estimates suggest more than 100 sheep have been butchered illegally in the county since March.

A 40-year-old Hampshire man has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and theft.

Detective Inspector Johnny Campbell of Northampton CID, the senior investigating officer for Operation Stock, said: “We’re taking this fast-moving investigation very seriously with a dedicated team following a number of lines of inquiry into these awful crimes.

One man arrested in connection with these incidents has been released under investigation, with inquiries ongoing as our investigators and the Rural Crime Team work tirelessly to bring those responsible to justice.

“We’re receiving lots of intelligence into CID regarding Operation Stock and I’d like to thank everyone who has reported suspicious activity to us. These reports are vital to our work and I’d urge anyone with potentially relevant information to contact us via ‘101’ or online.”

Inspector Tracy Moore, rural crime lead at Northamptonshire Police, added: “We’re aware of the impact these dreadful incidents have had on our farming community, and our dedicated Operation Stock police patrols continue around the clock.

“We’re also working with partners and the community to provide reassurance and advice, including the distribution of livestock warning signs kindly funded by the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.

“Our Neighbourhood Policing and Rural Crime teams are working closely with investigators in CID, and I’d repeat our previous messages to encourage anyone who sees anything suspicious to call us on 101 quoting ‘Operation Stock’, or 999 in an emergency.”