Suspected poachers shoot dead llama in Northumberland

27 February 2019, 14:31 | Updated: 27 February 2019, 14:32

Larry

A "loving and harmless" Llama has been shot dead by suspected poachers in Northumberland.

Larry was found dead by keepers at Hilltop Farm Animal Sanctuary near Longhorsley on last Wednesday night, or early on Thursday morning.

Police believe poachers sneaked into the site and may have mistaken the animal for a deer. 

Officers have warned those who carry out illegal hunts in that they will be arrested if they are identified.

Northumbria Police's Sergeant Mick Aspey said: "This heartless shooting has understandably led to outrage in the community and on social media.

"Larry had been at the sanctuary for five years and was a loving, harmless animal that has been gunned down by suspected poachers.

"It has been reported to us that those responsible may have mistaken Larry for a deer but even so it is illegal to hunt animals in this way.

"We know that poaching can be a problem in our rural communities and I want to reassure people that we take it seriously.

"It is a criminal offence and, where possible, we will always look to identify offenders and put them before the courts.

"Enquiries into this incident are ongoing and I would ask anyone who saw anyone acting suspiciously in the area of the sanctuary to get in touch."

It is believed the attackers would have accessed the farm, on the A697 near Espley from the back, on Beacon Hill.