THREE sheep have been found dead in the New Forest sparking yet more fears that modern-day Satanists are targeting animals in the area.
The latest revelations of gruesome killings bring the total death toll to six. Many of the previous animals found slain had devil worshipping signs including spray-painted pentagrams and upside-down crosses left close by.
The carcass of one of the latest victims was found in the Wittensford Lane area of Cadnam with a puncture wound to its shoulder at 8am last Friday. At around the same time another sheep was found off Penn Common Road, Bramshaw, with stab marks to its neck.
The third sheep was also discovered in the Wittensford Lane area three days later.
Details of how the sheep were found and any markings they may have had on them were not revealed by police.
In a statement the force said: “Enquiries are ongoing to establish the details of this incident. As part of their enquiries officers will look to see if there are any links between these sheep deaths and with any other similar incidents in the New Forest.”
A spokesperson for the verderers called the latest attacks “dreadful”, saying: “We’d like to see whoever is doing this caught quickly.
“We have not got a clue who could be doing this. It is such a horrible and nasty thing to do. Our members are very worried about it. It is serious animal welfare issue, and the death of these sheep is a significant loss to their owners.”
Tony Hockley, chairman of the New Forest Commoners’ Defence Association, called the latest killings “very worrying” adding: “We will do all we can to help police catch the perpetrators.”
After the previous attacks police introduced targeted patrols of areas in the New Forest, and said these will continue.
In the attack before the latest spate of killings, a New Forest sheep was found on 2nd January in the middle of a road in Cadnam.
It had a broken pitchfork thrust through its body and a straw crucifix placed upside down alongside it.
The owner of the animal, Wendy Maughan, told the A&T at the time that she believed the killers must have known how to handle livestock, saying: “There is quite some intent and planning involved – it is quite sinister in that respect.
“The sheep had bedded down about half a mile from where it was found so they had to kill it and then get it to there.
“Sheep are quite strong, and you have to know how to hold them, so I think it’s more than one person and they have stunning equipment.”
The nearby 12th century St Peter’s Church, on Judd’s Hill, had also been targeted with phallic and Satanic symbols sprayed on its walls on 20th November.
Before the attack on Mrs Maughan’s animal, a sheep had been found on December 18th with its throat cut and its entrails ripped out in a field off Rodlease Lane, near Boldre.
On 19th November a ewe was found in Bramshaw with a puncture wound to its side and a pentagram painted on its face. There was also a star, an inverted cross and the number 666 painted on its face.
Later that week a cow was found with wounds to its neck, and two calves had been stabbed in the shoulder by the attackers who struck in the Bramshaw and Linwood areas.
Officers from Hampshire Constabulary’s Country Watch team investigating the attacks are liaising with the verderers and affected livestock owners.
Those with information on the incidents should call police on 101 and quote reference number 44200013948.