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Burnt-out car found during probe into 50 dead animals dumped outside shop

Around 50 corpses were left littered outside Broughton Community Shop  (Google Maps)
Around 50 corpses were left littered outside Broughton Community Shop (Google Maps)

Police investigating after dozens of dead animals were dumped outside a shop in Hampshire have discovered a burnt-out car believed to be linked to the incident.

“Distraught” staff found the bodies of around 50 dead hares, as well as a barn owl and a kestrel, outside the Broughton Community Shop on Friday morning.

It follows several similar incidents reported in the area, including almost 30 rabbits being found outside a primary school.

Hampshire Police told The Independent in a statement on Sunday that they had discovered the burnt-out remains of a Suzuki Grand Vitara which is thought to be linked to the incident.

Detectives were reported a day earlier to be trying to identify the owners of the vehicle.

“We are still asking the public to send us CCTV or dashcam images of any cars matching this description seen in the Test Valley area around the time of the incident,” a police spokesperson said. They went on: “Officers are following all possible lines of enquiry and will be in the area today to provide reassurance to local residents.”

Locals reportedly believe the incidents are carried out by poachers sending a “message” to locals to keep them from interfering. 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.”

Describing the disturbing scene in the village of Broughton on Friday, Mike Hensman, treasurer of the village shop, said on Saturday: “There were hares on the patio outside the shop, blood on the doors. [There was] a raptor and an owl stuffed on to the handles of the shop.”

“The guy that opened the shop – he shoots so he’s used to this. And he’s still distraught. He’s struggling to cope with it because it was pretty horrific,” Mr Hensman added.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call 101, quoting reference 44240111410, or to visit the force’s website.