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Turkey thieves strike before Christmas as farmers arrive at work to find pens empty

Turkey thieves have struck in Devon as farmers fear the birds were brutally killed before being dragged off to be sold on the black market.

Jon Smye, of Broadclyst Community Farm, has warned other farmers to “remain vigilant” as the thieves are still at large.

He has also asked locals to report it to the police if they are offered turkeys or feathers by suspicious characters.

The farmer fears that the turkeys were killed in an inhumane manner as thieves rushed to take them off the property in the dead of night.

Mr Smye said that as the birds are so heavy, there is no way they could have been taken alive.

He added: “Unfortunately we’ve had all of our turkeys stolen over night. We are gutted as a lot of care goes into looking after the birds. It’s that time of year when turkeys are killed but there are laws in place to ensure welfare at the time of killing.

“These weren’t observed and the turkey pens door was smashed off its hinges.  We are reporting this to the police and we know this happened around 4am.

“The thieves took the birds across the field to the lay-by near the leisure centre car park. We are checking CCTV. If you heard or saw anything please let us know. You may be offered turkey or you might notice someone getting rid of a lot of feathers. Any small detail might add up to something so please share. And if you have livestock please be vigilant.”

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