Northamptonshire sheep slaughter: Three men jailed

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image captionTwelve reports of illegal butchery were made to police between June and October last year

Three men have been jailed for the illegal killing of sheep and lambs taken from farmers' fields.

Twelve reports of illegal butchery were made in Northamptonshire last year.

Robert Iordan, 23, and Florin Nutu, 36, were both sentenced to four years and four months and Viorel Manu, 39, sentenced to two years and 11 months.

Judge Adrienne Lucking QC, speaking to the men via video link at Northampton Crown Court, described the killings as "gruesome and distressing".

Iordan, and Florin both of Dunsink Road, near Villa Park, Birmingham, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal in relation to the slaughter and butchery of livestock last month.

Manu, of no fixed address, changed his plea to guilty of the same offence before his trial on Monday.

He received a lesser sentence after the court heard the 39-year-old father-of-nine was involved in only one, albeit serious, offence.

Judge Lucking said: "The sheep were stolen from seven different owners. Not all of the sheep were farm livestock, some were in fact pets.

"On one occasion two very young children were completely traumatised finding their sheep slaughtered and butchered such that they were screaming at the sight."

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