Dead Wild Animals Dumped Outside Hampshire Shop, Authorities Launch Investigation

Police are investigating a series of heinous wildlife killings in Hampshire after hares, a kestrel, and a barn owl were left outside a local shop.

Authorities Launch Investigation

“Distraught” staff discovered 50 dead hares, a barn owl, and a kestrel outside the Broughton Community Shop. Blood had been smeared across the shop glass, and the two birds had been shoved into the door knobs.

This incident is similar to others reported in the vicinity, including the discovery of over 30 rabbits outside a primary school.

Villagers in Broughton believe hare coursers may have been involved. Salisbury Plain is a famous spot for criminal groups to live stream activities for individuals betting on which animal would be killed first.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Police said they were attempting to find the owners of a silver Suzuki Grand Vitara.

“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,” said Mike Hensman, treasurer of the village shop.

Volunteers reopened the shop six years ago, and it’s “more like Fortnum and Mason” than a traditional village shop.

On February 9, 25 dead animals were discovered outside Awbridge Primary School early in the morning, but the investigation has stalled.

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Burnt-Out Car

Police uncovered a burnt-out car that is believed to be connected to the incident. The detectives were 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.

The officers are pursuing all possible lines of inquiry and will be in the area to reassure local residents.

Locals believe the incidents were carried out by poachers who sent a “message” to villagers to keep them from intervening.

Salisbury Plain is a famous spot for criminal groups to live stream activities for individuals betting on which animal would be killed first.

“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,” said one local farmer, whose land has been targeted repeatedly.

Coursers are known to dump animals in farmers’ fields and villages, which authorities say is often done to scare locals into remaining silent. Officers claim that gangs create significant damage by attempting to videotape the pursuits so that bettors, sometimes from China, can watch the blood sport.

Hare coursing was legal until 2004, although it is still practiced in big, flat, open areas, such as Salisbury Plain, with lurchers or greyhounds pitted against one another to chase hares.

Farmers and police were concerned that hare coursing was becoming more popular, so parliament passed legislation in 2022 making it illegal to use a dog to look for hares and allowing authorities to stop and check vehicles.

According to research released last week by the National Rural Crime Network, there are around 22 organized crime groups engaging in rural crime in the United Kingdom.

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