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Shock after piles of dead animals left lying around village

Residents of a small village are trying to solve a chilling mystery after dozens of dead animals were dumped outside their community shop (Google Maps)
Residents of a small village are trying to solve a chilling mystery after dozens of dead animals were dumped outside their community shop (Google Maps)

Residents of a small village are trying to solve a chilling mystery after dozens of dead animals were dumped outside their community shop.

Police are investigating after “distraught” staff found the bodies of around 50 dead hares, as well as a barn owl and a kestrel, outside the Broughton Community Shop in Hampshire on Friday morning.

It comes after several similar incidents involving dumped dead animals were reported in the area, including almost 30 rabbits being found outside a primary school.

The shop appealed for CCTV footage and locals to come forward with information as they thanked the community for coming together.

“Safe to say none of us were expecting our day to start as it did here this morning at Broughton Community Shop,” a Facebook post read.

“Thank you all for popping in, messaging and phoning to make sure we are ok. We are ok. shocked but ok.”

Mike Hensman, the treasurer for the Broughton shop, told the Salisbury Journal: “We are a local community shop and we are there to serve people we are not there to clear up dead animals that somebody else has put there.”

He added: “People were traumatised about this but yet they came back, sorted it out and got the shop open in time to serve customers which is what we do.”

Disturbing images taken by shop staff seen by The Independent show the bodies scattered in front of the building.

The attack is the latest in a string of seemingly related incidents in the area, where locals reportedly believe are carried out by poachers sending a “message” to locals to keep them from interfering.

Other wild creatures have been dumped nearby, including 27 rabbits outside a primary school around ten miles away in February.

Local resident Mandy Robinson, 47, told the Hampshire Chronicle: “This was only about an hour or some before the school breakfast club began, so there were going to be primary school children walking by this horrible sight. I don’t know why someone would do this.”

The paper also reported 40 animal corpses were dumped north of the next village over in November.

Following the latest find outside the village shop, a local said: “Horrible for you all, and very similar to what happened outside Awbridge Primary School a few months back.

“Let’s hope these thugs can be caught and stopped from terrorising more communities.”

According to the Mail Online, the culprits are thought to be linked to gangs who broadcast their activities live on Facebook.

One local farmer, whose land has been targeted repeatedly, told the paper: “They are basically laughing in our faces. The horrific display they left outside our community shop is obviously meant to let us know they’re invincible.”

A spokesman for Hampshire police said: “We can confirm we are investigating following a report that a number of dead animals were left outside a shop in Broughton.”

Anyone with information about the latest incident is asked to contact police on 101 using the crime reference number 44240111410, or visit hampshire.police.uk.