A farmer has been left devastated after his prized pigs were slaughtered in the latest of a string of crimes targeting livestock.
The five Iron Age pigs – valued at £1,000 and with a dead weight of at least 250kg (39 stone) – were brutally killed in the middle of the night at a tranquil woodland farm near Exeter.
Hamish Lothian arrived at Clown Cottage Farm in the morning to find trails of blood across his fields hours after thieves had driven away with the heavy carcasses.
"Only then did I realise they had murdered the pigs. They stole enough meat to feed a family of four for half a year. It's like having your house invaded," he said.
The incident comes as the National Farmers' Union warns over an emergence of "backstreet butchery".
"This type of crime is outrageous in every way," said NFU spokesman Ian Johnson.
Police say wildlife crime costs the rural economy half a million pounds a year. Crime Commissioner Tony Hogg has led the force's efforts to tackle livestock rustling after a wave of sheep attacks in Devon.
PC Robert McMahon, said the "horrible" incident was being investigated. More....