Farmers fight back against illegal sheep butchery, blocking suspicious van that had been spotted in Barby until police arrive

Farmers fought back against the spate of illegal sheep butchery by blocking a suspicious van that had been spotted earlier in a village near Rugby.

Yesterday, Wednesday July 31, the occupants of a white Ford Transit van were reportedly seen behaving suspiciously around a farm near Barby.

File image.

File image.

A witness reported the van to the police, prompting a call for any information as to its whereabouts.

Northamptonshire Police received reports of the van being spotted in Kilsby, Naseby, Sibbertoft, Arthingworth and Coventry.

Then, at around 6pm, farmers spotted the van in Naseby and they stopped the van from leaving as they waited for the police to arrive.

Sergeant Sam Dobbs of Northants Police said: "This goes to show how potent it can be when the public is engaged and assists in lawfully making our area hostile to those whose motives are questionable or unexplained."

Illegal sheep butchery and theft has been plaguing Warwickshire, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire for months.

Warwickshire Police responded in March by launching Operation Hillman and it has sharing intelligence and information with neighbouring forces in its effort to tackle the spate of illegal butchery.

And Northants Police launched Operation Stock after it began receiving reports of illegal slaughter in the county earlier this month.

UPDATE:

At 4.42pm today, August 1, Northants Police said the van has been eliminated from enquiries into illegal butchery - but reported to Daventry District Council over possible contravention of rules relating to the collection of scrap metal in the area.

A spokesperson said: "Police attended and seized it after the male driver and passenger, both from Warwickshire, failed to give an explanation for their activities in Northamptonshire.

"No arrests were made.

"An examination by officers revealed nothing to scientifically link the vehicle to Operation Stock offences and it will be released back to its owner and eliminated from enquiries."

How can you help?

The Advertiser met with police and members of the farming community in April to learn more about the problem and find out how members of the public can help.

The video featured at the top of this story was taken during that meeting, and you can click here to read the full story.

Any suspicious activity should be reported by calling 101 or 999 if a crime is in progress.

Information can be sent to northwarksruralAlerts@warwickshire.pnn.police.uk in confidence or via Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111.