Burnt-out car found in investigation into around 50 dead animals dumped outside shop

todayMarch 17, 2024 6

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Burnt-out car found in investigation into around 50 dead animals dumped outside shop

Police investigating an incident in which dozens of dead animals were dumped outside a Hampshire shop have found a burnt-out Suzuki Grand Vitara believed to be linked to the case.

Warning: This story contains images and descriptions readers may find distressing

Hampshire Police has urged the public to send any CCTV or dash cam images of cars matching this description in the Test Valley area at the time of the incident.

“Officers are following all possible lines of enquiry and will be in the area today to provide reassurance to local residents,” the force said in a statement.

The bodies of around 50 dead hares as well as a barn owl and a kestrel, were discovered by a member of staff who had gone to open up Broughton Community Shop on Friday.

The barn owl and kestrel were “stuffed” on the door handles and blood was smeared on the windows, the shop’s treasurer said.

On the shop’s Facebook page, a post said: “Thank you all for popping in, messaging and phoning to make sure we are okay. We are okay, shocked but okay.”

Police had previously appealed for information about a silver Suzuki car that may have been in the area between Thursday night and Friday morning.

“It was bedlam, it was just covered in dead hares, all the way across this paving here, horrifying,” the shop’s treasurer Mike Hensman told Sky News.

“And on the door there was a dead raptor, bird of prey, and an owl impaled on the door handles. And there was blood everywhere.”

He described how shocked staff and villagers had to remove the remains.

“We cleared it all up, got the police in, had to wash all the windows down and get rid of everything.

“We got a local farmer here to get rid of all the dead hares and we just got on with business because that’s what you do in a community. We’re servicing the community. We just had to keep going.”

He believes the shop was targeted because the entrance is “tucked away”.

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“A shop on the high street you wouldn’t have been able to do it because there would have been cars going by. It’s tucked away so someone’s able to get a car round here and have a party with some dead hares. It’s ridiculous.

“It made entertainment for them and caused a problem for us… it could have been anywhere.”

It is the second time in recent weeks that the local area has been targeted.

Carcasses of pheasants, chickens and hares were dumped outside Awbridge Primary School, around six miles from Broughton, last month.

Police say they are keeping an “open mind” about whether the two incidents are linked.

Dead pheasants found outside Awbridge Primary School in a another incident in February. Pic: Solent Photo Agency

Dead pheasants found outside Awbridge Primary School in another incident in February. Pic: Solent Photo Agency

Tony Lowry, a local wildlife and conservation warden, believes rival criminal groups who travel from outside the area are to blame.

He claims it’s driven by gambling: “Money, betting between groups, that’s basically what it’s about… how many animals they’re going to kill in one night, how big an animal?

“We’ve had instances of deers’ ears being chopped off to prove they’ve actually got them, taken them away. We find piles of animals with no ears, we have done in the past. Terrible.

“I’m a country person, I’m a gamekeeper and so my work does involve killing, but that is just killing for no reason at all.”

Written by: Newsroom

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