Police in Northamptonshire are urging witnesses to come forward after 25 more were found illegally slaughtered at a farm in Thornby on Monday.

It's being treated as the latest episode related to Operation Stock - the ongoing investigation of illegal sheep butchery and theft across counties of Warwickshire, Leicestershire, and Northamptonshire.

In August, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) told AgriLand that figures it had collected showed that since February 2019, a total of 735 sheep had been killed in 48 incidents.

The latest incident was discovered in a field off the Welford Road at about 8:00am on Monday (September 9).

Inspector Tracy Moore, who leads on rural crime for Northamptonshire Police, said: “Unsurprisingly, the owner of these sheep is devastated and my officers are working around the clock to bring whoever is responsible for these monstrous acts to justice.

The pace of this investigation is unrelenting and proactive officers continue to patrol the county’s rural areas both day and night.

“I am appealing for the public to be extra vigilant and to keep an eye out for suspicious activity in rural areas or around livestock – it is likely offenders are carrying out daytime scoping exercises, and I urge people who see suspicious vehicles to contact police.

“I also appeal for anybody who has any information about the sale of cheap meat with unknown provenance to come forward.

"We remain concerned about illegal meat entering the human food chain, as recent use of veterinary medication could mean it’s unfit for human consumption.

“Alongside our Trading Standards partners, our advice to the public is to only buy meat from reputable outlets, and to avoid buying cheap meat in suspicious circumstances.”

Anybody with information should contact police on 101, or 999 if they believe a crime is in progress.

Anyone with information about the latest incident is asked to contact police, quoting incident number 89 of Monday, September 9.