Grisly discovery of beheaded animals in Norfolk villages

John Garner of Foxy Lodge Wildlife Rescue heard from someone who found a dead fox

John Garner of Foxy Lodge Wildlife Rescue heard from someone who found a dead fox - Credit: Archant

The distressing discovery of apparently beheaded animals - including reports of a Jack Russell dog - has caused growing concern in the countryside around Great Yarmouth.

In the past month, three deer have been found with their heads cut off on the bank of the River Bure, two in Runham and one in Stokesby.

During the same period, the discovery of a beheaded fox near fishermen's cottages in nearby Hemsby was reported to a wildlife rescue centre in the village.

Now, public concern has grown even greater after reports that the head of a Jack Russell was found in Back Market Lane, Hemsby.

John Garner, 53, who runs Foxy Lodge Wildlife Rescue in Newport Road, Hemsby, with his wife Tonia, 49, said he was told about the fox about three weeks ago by the person who found it.

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He said: 'It was a bit of a shock as it is just up the road from where we live and there is a nice healthy population of foxes around here.

'It was certainly not a road traffic accident as it was found on a little, pot-holed road where you would wreck your car if you went more than 10mph. It begs the question, 'how was it killed? Was it shot or trapped or poisoned?''

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The discovery of the deer was reported to local PC Dick Cook during a meeting of Mautby Parish Council.

District councillor Shirley Weymouth, who heard about it as parish clerk at Mautby council, said: 'I was extremely concerned to hear these animals were killed like this.

'One of the councillors at Mautby raised the question whether they had been shot or hunted by dogs.

'The question was also raised whether they had been killed for trophies. I wonder why they were left in such prominent locations by the river.'

Mrs Weymouth said her reaction when she heard about the Jack Russell from a reliable source was 'Oh, my God'.

She said police had since carried out a search for the dog's remains but they had not been found.

She urged anyone with information about the incidents, and possible further cases, to contact the police.

Karen King, who lives off Newport Road, Hemsby, said she was horrified when a family friend told her about the discovery of the Jack Russell's head - and her daughter Kacie, 11, had found the collar of a small dog nearby a couple of days later.

She said: 'To see cruelty like this is deplorable. It could scar a child for life if they came across something like this.'

A Norfolk police spokesman said last night they were in the early stages of the investigation and still had to speak to the people who had found the animals and hopefully track down the carcasses.

In the meantime anyone with information was invited to call the police and ask for PC Cook.

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