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Holbeach area farmer appeals for help in tracking down sick individuals who terrorised his sheep in attack at Surfleet Marsh




The hunt is on to find the sick individuals who terrorised a flock of sheep over the weekend, resulting in three deaths.

Farmer Tom French believes two ewes were deliberately ran over after finding their corpses marked with wheel ruts at grazing land in Surfleet Marsh on Friday.

He had to put down another ewe which appears to have been set alight and says there are another five animals missing.

Tom French with his surviving sheep following a horrific attack at Surfleet Marsh (38825657)
Tom French with his surviving sheep following a horrific attack at Surfleet Marsh (38825657)

Mr French has found wheel ruts around the perimeter along with a damaged fence and believes that the flock had been chased around the 36 acre field with some ending up in the nearby river.

He is now appealing for witnesses who may have seen a customised 4x4 in the area to contact police.

Devastated Mr French, who is building up his sheep farm while working full-time, said: “When I found the two dead ewes that was bad. Then I saw the burnt one that made me worse but to see they had been chased around a 36 acre field, I can’t believe more didn’t die with stress.”

Tom French with his surviving sheep following a horrific attack at Surfleet Marsh (38825644)
Tom French with his surviving sheep following a horrific attack at Surfleet Marsh (38825644)

On Saturday morning, Mr French found a dead sheep with legs broken and wheel ruts. He said: “My friend asked when I had got a black sheep. I told him that I didn’t own a black sheep. We went to get it but it ran off and we couldn’t get near it.”

While they were checking the field, they came across a second corpse.

Mr French said: “They had tried to do a doughnut over it.

Tom French with his surviving sheep following a horrific attack at Surfleet Marsh (38825686)
Tom French with his surviving sheep following a horrific attack at Surfleet Marsh (38825686)

“Normally, I can walk around them but I could not get near them.

He had to return later that day to find the stricken sheep, which was a pedigree ewe, and had to euthanise it.

Mr French, who has passed onto police the registration of a vehicle he had seen a few weeks earlier, said: “The fleece had been burned. They have poured something on it and watched it run around burning.”

Tom French with his surviving sheep following a horrific attack at Surfleet Marsh (38825690)
Tom French with his surviving sheep following a horrific attack at Surfleet Marsh (38825690)

When he returned on Sunday to round up his flock to take them home to check over, he discovered a further five were missing.

The remaining sheep have been checked over by a vet but this has put back his plans for breeding next year.

He said: “Hopefully we can put them in lamb but we don’t know. I have started from scratch and these are ewes I have bred myself to get my flock to where it is.”

Tom French with his surviving sheep following a horrific attack at Surfleet Marsh (38825668)
Tom French with his surviving sheep following a horrific attack at Surfleet Marsh (38825668)

The land is owned by Surfleet United Charities which has received reports in the past of anti-social behaviour and joy riding in the field, including an incident when a plastic water trough was destroyed.

Charity chairman Simon Harrison said that the land has a public byway running through but is appealing for people to report incidents of anti-social behaviour.

He said: “This is sickening and despicable behaviour.”

Tom French with his surviving sheep following a horrific attack at Surfleet Marsh (38825672)
Tom French with his surviving sheep following a horrific attack at Surfleet Marsh (38825672)

Surfleet Parish Council chairman Glynn Waltham said: “It is disgusting and appalling. I can’t believe that anyone could do that.”

Chairman of the South Holland branch of National Farmers Union Chris Carter said there have been incidents of dog attacks on sheep in the past but nothing like this.

He said: “I am disgusted and feel very sorry for the owner of the sheep.

“I hope the police pull their finger out to find the perpetrator of this crime. It is disgusting.”

Investigating Wildlife Crime officer PC Martin Green said: “This is a horrific incident that has caused much upset to the farmer. Unfortunately, we do believe this was a deliberate act and we are carrying out investigations to bring the offenders to justice.

“We believe a 4X4 was driven into the field where the sheep were kept sometime between Friday and Saturday. Three of the flock were knocked down and have sadly died.

“The farmer has also reported that eight sheep are missing. We believe these eight sheep may have been chased into the River Welland or they may have been stolen.

“We would like to hear from anyone who may be able to assist with our investigation. Any information no matter how insignificant it may seem, may help us to investigate this cruel act and identify those responsible.”

Police would like to hear from any witnesses, anyone who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously in the area or anyone who has dashcam footage.

There are a number of ways you can report

  • By clicking on the email link force.control@lincs.pnn.police.uk- please remember to put the reference 168 of July 18 in the subject box.
  • Via our non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 168 of July 18.


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