Hatfield farmer heartbroken by discovery of shot lambs

One of the lambs injured in the earlier shooting at Stoupers Gate Farm near Hatfield.
One of the lambs injured in the earlier shooting at Stoupers Gate Farm near Hatfield.

The farmer who woke up to find six month-old lambs shot dead on his South Yorkshire farm has urged anyone who knows anything about the “heartbreaking” crime to contact police.

Tom Brooke was nearing the end of lambing season at Stoupers Gate Farm near Hatfield when he discovered the dead animals in a field on Tuesday morning. Two other lambs, found injured but still alive, had to be put down.

With the current price for a lamb around £100, plus veterinary bills and carcass removal fees, the cost to Mr Brooke is around £1,000.

“It’s heartbreaking seeing that sort of stuff,” he said. “I’ve had sheep stolen before but this is sick. We have been lambing from the third week in January and had all these late nights - it’s a stressful period - and how people can do something like that, I don’t know.”

Police and the RSPCA are investigating the shooting which happened overnight on Monday. Officers have since forensically examined the farmland for any evidence.

Mr Brooke believes the culprit may be someone involved in illegal hare coursing or lamping, owing to the use of what he said was a rifle used to kill his lambs. “It looked like it was someone taking target practice, maybe someone with a new gun who was trying it out,” he said.

South Yorkshire Police has asked anyone who saw anything suspicious in the Crow Tree Bank and Sandtoft Road areas to contact them. Chief Inspector Adrian Brown said: “This incident has shocked the farming community and has caused a significant amount of distress to the farmer. It’s vitally important we identify the person or people responsible.”