Hartley Crouch of Cottesmore Road, Ashwell, has been convicted of theft after he stole a sheep, skinned it and fed it to hounds at a hunt.

The 23-year-old was working as a whipper-in for the Pytchley Hunt on March 13, 2022, when he shot dead a hunt member’s sheep, after which he skinned it and fed it to hounds.

For this, Crouch was immediately fired from his position in the hunt and the incident was reported to Northamptonshire Police.

He was charged with theft and found guilty of the offence at Northampton Magistrates’ Court last week (Wednesday, January 11).

Crouch was sentenced to a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £775 in costs, £150 in compensation and a surcharge of £22.

Chloe Gillies of Northamptonshire Police’s rural crime team said Crouch’s behaviour and the way he treated the sheep was distressing and upsetting to the owners, who had kept the sheep as a pet.

“This incident caused a great deal of upset to the owners of the sheep who had hand-reared it and kept it as a pet in the back garden,” she said.

“Crouch did not have the owners’ permission to kill the sheep and to dispose of it in the manner that he did was horrible.

“I am pleased Crouch was found guilty of the offence and I hope this case shows that Northamptonshire Police take incidents like this seriously.”