Farmer tells of shock at pig thefts

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A FARMER has stepped up security after thieves stole two of his pigs, leaving evidence of the night-time slaughter in a bloody trail across his land.

Ben Spurgeon, an outdoor pig farmer, had expected to find a dead body on his Rougham farm when, on February 10, getting up to feed his 1,000 sows at 4.30am, he discovered ‘a lot of blood and guts laying in the field’.

“It was frightening, I was a bit apprehensive about what I would see. I thought I was going to see a dead body to start with but I followed the trail and it took me back to a pen,” said the farmer, who had a second pig stolen just two days later.

A police spokesman said that both pigs were taken while it was dark and it was thought they had been selected for their large size, weighing around 80kg.

The thieves pulled a vehicle into a layby on the A14, slaughtered the pigs on Mr Spurgeon’s farm and dragged their bodies towards the road.

“It was snowing the first time and they dragged it from the paddocks, all the way to the A14 and carried it over the fence,” said Mr Spurgeon.

“I was a bit taken aback that someone would do that and distressed that they would come into the field and kill them in the field,” added the father-of-one.

The 42-year-old, who has owned the farm for 10 years, has not had a problem with livestock thefts before.

He said the pigs targeted would, in the long term, have been worth thousands of pounds.

“They’re taking our livelihood. We work hard for the pigs that we supply. I’d rather they came and asked me for a job – there’s always plenty to do on a farm.”

Security lights and CCTV cameras have been set up around the 100 acre farm and police have stepped up patrols in the area.

A spokesman for NFU Mutual, which insures three quarters of the farms in East Anglia, said last year the region saw a ‘big increase’ in livestock thefts, with a rise of 155 per cent in East Anglia. Pigs reared outdoors were at most risk in Suffolk.

Farmers are advised to clearly mark their stock, vary the times of stock checks and work together to spot suspicious activity.

Anyone with information should call police on 101.