School's lambs skinned and slaughtered

Three lambs with one holding its nose against a cow's nose Image copyright Hall Farm
Image caption Four-week-old Ethel, Chunks and Ugs were triplets

Three lambs bought for a primary school to be pets have been found "skinned and slaughtered" near a farm.

Remains of the four-week-old lambs, and a rare Lincoln Longwool sheep, were found on land near Hall Farm in Messingham, near Scunthorpe, on Saturday.

Farmer Jamie Quinn said: "How do we tell the children at the school?"

Humberside Police said it was investigating a burglary at the farm on Holme Lane.

The lambs, named Ethel, Chunk and Ugs, were triplets and had to be bottle-fed with formula milk four times a day because their mother could not feed them all.

Image copyright Hall Farm
Image caption Mr Quinn said he was "in bits" over the deaths

Mr Quinn said the animals were "slaughtered in the field opposite - skins left for us to find".

"I am currently in bits," he said.

"They were bought specifically for a school project to fit in with other parts of the curriculum six weeks ago. The plan was to keep them at the school as pets for the kids."

Police said a barn on the farm was broken into between 18:00 GMT on Friday and 07:00 on Saturday.

"This is clearly a very upsetting incident and the theft of livestock from farms is a serious matter," officers said.

"The animal's skins and carcasses were found nearby. Damage was caused to the farm and its fencing during the burglary."

Image copyright Hall Farm
Image caption Humberside Police said it had "increased patrols in the area"

Mr Quinn said the lambs' deaths came after three adult sheep, including another Lincoln Longwool, went missing four weeks ago in a suspected rustling.

"All we found was wool hanging over the barbed wire fence where they'd been dragged across," Mr Quinn added.

According to Lincoln Longwool Sheep Breeders Association, the sheep are a "vulnerable" breed and listed on the Rare Breed Survival Trust watch list because "there are very few remaining flocks of Lincoln Longwools" in the country.

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