A pig farmer who lost six of his pigs in a ‘barbaric and cruel’ attack said those responsible knew exactly what they were doing.
Northants Police are appealing for witnesses after thieves slaughtered the pigs on site then stole them from a farm near Greens Norton, between 4.30pm on Sunday and 8.45am on Monday.
Owner Bob Martin told the Advertiser and Review he and his wife, Rolita, had only bought their herd of 13 pigs in August, which they kept on the farm of a family friend.
He said: “It’s devastating. You rear these animals and they are like pets to us. We were just trying to start a nice little herd of pigs. I have kept animals all my life and I have never seen anything so barbaric and cruel.
“The seven that are left are terrified – they didn’t want to come out of their pen after seeing what their brothers and sisters had gone through.
“This really highlights to me how rural farmers and people in the countryside are so vulnerable to people that just seem to want to come to a property to kill and steal animals.”
He added the thieves cut through chains, four sets of padlocks and lifted gates off their hinges just to get in.
“They killed them on site,” he said. “I think they had the proper knives to do it. They knew exactly what was there.”
Of the sows that were killed, two were Gloucestershire Old Spot, two were British Lops, one was a Middle White Gilt, which Mr and Mrs Martin called Esmeralda, and one was a Blue and White.
Mr Martin said: “It’s coming up to lambing time. If one of us had been there during the night when the thieves arrived, who knows what could have happened.”
He urged the government to do more to help vulnerable farmers in isolated areas to increase their security in a bid to minimise attacks of this kind. He added: “Farmers are the backbone of this country.”
Rural crime officer, PC Claire Paul, said: “These pigs were slaughtered in unhygienic conditions and we are concerned that they could enter the human food chain.
“If anybody is offered cheap meat and have any suspicions about its source, please contact police on 101 or Trading Standards on 08454 04 05 06.
“Similarly, we would like to hear from anybody who thinks they may have seen the van or lorry transporting the pigs – this would have been filthy.
“There was a lot of mud and blood at the scene.”
Witnesses or anyone who may have information are urged to contact Northants Police on 101.