Farmer devastated by theft and horrific slaughter of his pet sheep

Suffolk farmer Tom Walne has been left very upset by the theft of his two pet sheep. Picture: PHIL M

Suffolk farmer Tom Walne has been left very upset by the theft of his two pet sheep. Picture: PHIL MORELY

A well-known Suffolk farmer been left devastated after his two pet sheep were stolen and later found slaughtered.

Farmer Tom Walne with his Suffolk Punch foal Roger and mother Heather. Picture: JOY SOAR

Farmer Tom Walne with his Suffolk Punch foal Roger and mother Heather. Picture: JOY SOAR - Credit: Archant

Tom Walne, 86, has been showing Suffolk Punches and other animals at the Suffolk show for decades and owned a farm in Old Norwich Road, Ipswich, for more than 30 years.

On Monday March 23 he found his pet sheep, Titch and Sheepy, had been stolen overnight from the field he kept them in – their remains were sadly discovered a week later.

“The older sheep was about 12 years old and I’m pretty sure I pulled the younger out of her myself,” Mr Walne recalled.

“The runt we called Titch and got her healthy and the mum I called Sheepy – they were great pets. You should have seen her, the youngster used to gallop up to the gate to see me.


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“I looked after them like they were my own children, they were my best friends you see.”

Mr Walne visited his sheep twice a day and his neighbours and friends would frequently come to pet and feed them with carrots.

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The bodies of the two sheep were found on a footpath in Barham by a dog walker and only the fleeces and heads remained.

PC Kevin Stollery, from the Rural Crime Team in Halesworth, said: “It is horrific for this to happen to Tom. It is very sad and upsetting for him and has affected him a lot.

“Crime like this does go on and is reasonably common I’m afraid, often as part of the illegal meat trade.”

PC Stollery explained how difficult it is to prevent theft of animals, citing issues which make investigations difficult such as remote locations and large areas of land which are hard to cover with CCTV.

“What more could we have done to save them?” Mr Walne added.

“That is what keeps running through my mind and it is all very sad.

“My sheep, they won’t mean as much to anyone else. I said I didn’t want to collect the pieces of them as I wanted to remember them how I last saw them, which was happy.”

The farmer is trying to keep busy as he has a new Suffolk Punch foal Roger just a few weeks old, named after a dear friend of his Roger Clark, a very well respected farrier and horseman who died last year.

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