Three men appeared in court today aallegedly killing and butchering around 350 sheep in Northamptonshire over four months in 2019.
Robert Iordan, Florin Nutu and Voirel Manu appeared in Northampton Crown Court today (January 13) where they pleaded not guilty to the alleged sheep killings that plagued the county between July and October last year.
It is alleged that in each case, the sheep were killed and butchered for their meat at the scene.
But, because the sheep in the case are lawfully treated as property, the three men have been charged with conspiracy to steal.
In a hearing in October 2019, Northampton Magistrate's Court heard the gruesome details of how the alleged operation was carried out.
The prosecution lawyer said: "The conspiracy involved the slaughter of about 350 sheep, all that have been slaughtered inhumanely.
"Vehicles and weapons have been taken to the location on local farmers' fields, the sheep are captured and a knife is taken to their throats and they suffer a slow and painful death.
"A pipe is then inserted in to the throat of the sheep which are blown up, they are skinned and their remains are left at the scene."
Iordan, 23, and Nutu, 35, were arrested on the A14 in the early hours of October 7 shortly after the discovery of nine illegally butchered sheep near Welton.
Manu, 38, was arrested in Birmingham shortly afterwards.
All three men - who all live on Dunsink Road, Birmingham - pleaded not guilty to the conspiracy.
They will remain in custody until their trial, which is set to start in March and is expected to last a week.