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Pet sheep were found killed and mutilated in a savage attack which their owners fear was targeted.
Ferg Roylance, 20, and Zara Bowden, 19, have been left heartbroken after discovering their murdered sheep, which they kept out of love rather than profit.
The couple went out last Friday morning to find the three pedigree sheep had had their necks broken and tongues cut out, Cheshire Live reports.
A single set of footprints were left in the snow leading to the carcasses on the couple's farm in Marton, Winsford.
The two lambs and one older sheep belonged to a flock of 19 and were their pride and joy, with one of the orphan lambs being named after Ferg's late grandmother, Valerie.
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Zara said: "They are not commercial sheep, they are our pets.
"They were really special and important sheep to us, and they are pedigrees so they are not cheap either.
"It's absolutely appalling that someone would do that to an animal, any animal."
Officers from the Cheshire Police Rural Crime Team arrived at the farm on Friday, January 8 and began a full perimeter search.
She said: "Luckily it had snowed so you could see where they had come from.
"They had come over the back gate, off the roadside, and through the back field and broke the sheep's necks. They found one pair of footprints so at the moment we think it's a lone person on their own."
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Police took swabs from the animals' mouths and discovered that their tongues had been cut out with a bladed article.
"We thought that was strange, why would anyone want to cut a sheep's tongue out and leave the rest of the sheep there?," added Zara.
"We are so worried about it, every time the dog barks we are panicking and checking the cameras," said Zara.
"You don't want strangers walking around your property."
"For some farmers sheep are just commercial but to us they are literally our pet sheep, they really mean a lot to us and it's very sad they are gone."
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Worryingly, the couple believe the attack may have been targeted, although police are still investigating.
Zara said: "They must have known they were there because the sheep are kept at the back of the house, so someone has tipped them off or they have been wandering around in the past."
Cheshire police believe the attack took place between 10pm-11pm on Thursday, January 7.
PC Moss of the Cheshire Police Rural Crime Team said: "There are some extremely unusual elements in the case and a thorough investigation is currently underway to establish the full circumstances and to identify the offender/s.
"If you saw anything suspicious in the Marton area: any persons or vehicles: particularly along Dalefords Lane or Cinder Hill then please get in contact via 101 and quote IML-890541."
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