Man arrested in connection with spate of dead animals dumped in quaint village

Police investigating the discovery of dead animals scattered in front of a community shop have arrested a man.

Around 50 dead hares, a barn owl and a kestrel were found dumped outside Broughton Community Shop in a picturesque Hampshire village earlier this month.

The previous month, a decapitated deer was found close to a primary school in a nearby village.

A 37-year-old man from Totton, near Southampton, has been arrested on suspicion of seven offences, and remains in custody, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Police said.

They include various animal welfare and poaching offences, as well as a firearms-related offence.

Spring weather May 13th 2023
barn owl are listed under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, giving them legal protection (James Manning/PA)

The force said examinations of the barn owl and kestrel – both of which are legally protected – revealed the birds had been shot with a gun.

The barn owl and kestrel were “stuffed” on the door handles and blood was smeared on the windows, the shop’s treasurer said.

In February, 25 dead wild animals were found close to a primary school on Danes Road in the village of Awbridge, six miles away from Broughton.

The carcasses of pheasants and hares were discovered along with a “decapitated deer”, a local newspaper reported.

Country Watch Sergeant Stuart Ross said: “Since this incident took place, we have been actively pursuing a number of lines of enquiry and working with partner agencies to establish the circumstances of what happened.

“We are grateful for the help we have received from the local community and we’d like to thank them for their patience while we investigate what happened.

“There may be some people with information who have not yet come forward, and if so, we would urge them to do so as soon as possible.”