Ghastly scene as 50 hares killed in sleepy English town

The bodies of 50 dead hares were dumped outside a community shop in a mystery that has left the sleepy south-east English town of Broughton puzzled.

The shocking incident took place at the Broughton Community Shop in Hampshire on Thursday night. A barn owl and a kestrel were also impaled on the door handle, with blood smeared over the door.

Shop treasurer Mike Hensman told Sky News: “It was bedlam, it was just covered in dead hares, all the way across this paving here, horrifying.

“And on the door there was a dead raptor, bird of prey, and an owl impaled on the door handles. And there was blood everywhere.”

Shop regular Caroline Hall told The Guardian: “It’s incredible that someone would do that, shocking.

“It’s such a privilege to see hares and birds of prey in the countryside around here. It was so cruel.”

Broughton is home to about 1000 people — and is renowned “hare country”.

One theory holds that hare coursers are responsible — people who set dogs on hares and livestream the gory spectacle online for punters, many of whom are in China.

Mysteriously, the local school Awbridge Primary School was targeted in a similar gruesome act last month, with the carcasses of pheasants, chickens and hares dumped outside.

Wildlife warden Tony Lowry blamed criminal groups who may be trying to send a message to locals that they’re untouchable.

“They just dump them and they do this for effect because someone’s going to find them and they know it’s going to cause outrage and it is – it’s outrageous what they do,” he told Sky News.

“Money, betting between groups, that’s basically what it’s about … How many animals they’re going to kill in one night, how big an animal?

“We’ve had instances of deer ears being chopped off to prove they’ve actually got them, taken them away. We find piles of animals with no ears, we have done in the past. Terrible.”

Meanwhile, police have fond a burnt-out Suzuki Grand Vitara which may be linked to the case.

The store was left to clean up the mess and get on with business.

“Thank you all for popping in, messaging and phoning to make sure we are okay. We are okay, shocked but okay,” a spokesman posted on Facebook.

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