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Sixty pheasants slaughtered in gruesome attack

An attack at the Wasing Estate is another in a spate of crimes targeting birds in Berkshire


The birds were decapitated and their heads impaled on fence posts at the Wasing Estate on October 10 after the attackers used catapults to knock the pheasants from their perches in the middle of the night.

The estate belongs to documentary maker Joshua Dugdale, who is Prime Minister David Cameron’s cousin.

A witness, who asked not to be named, said: “There were birds apparently shot with catapults, bird feeders smashed, pheasants beheaded or smashed into railings and bodies dumped in water tanks.”

Locals suspect that a group of travellers who live near the estate may be to blame

The motivation behind the attack is unknown. The incident is one of three recent reports of criminal damage involving game birds being killed in Berkshire – 250 pheasants were reportedly slaughtered at farms nearby.

Jack Knott from the Countryside Alliance said: “If they’re actually doing senseless slaughter of them and not even taking them it’s a bit more of a worry especially if it’s the same sort of thing at different farms. It’s a little heartbreaking especially at the start of the season when you’re just getting ready and just getting up and running.”

Sgt Alan Hawkett, from the Bucklebury and Downlands Rural Crime Team said that it has been difficult to progress normal lines of enquiry because of the remote locations of the crimes. He said: “We are working with landowners to find ways of protecting their property.”

2015 bad year for vandalism

A spokesman for the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) said that one shoot captain claimed this year had been the “worst ever” for vandalism and destruction of birds.

Police are asking the public to be alert and to contact them if they see anything suspicious.