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Man arrested after more than 50 dead animals found dumped outside Broughton Community Shop

A 37-year-old man has been arrested after more than 50 dead animals were dumped outside a shop in Hampshire.

A member of staff was opening the Broughton Community Shop when they encountered the "horrifying" scene on 15 March.

Police were called and found about 50 dead hares, a kestrel and a barn owl outside the store.

Officers from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary's Country Watch team have been investigating and discovered the barn owl and kestrel had been shot with a firearm.

Both birds are listed under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, giving them legal protection.

The man who was arrested has been charged with criminal damage, night poaching, killing of a Schedule 1 bird and killing of brown hare in the closed season.

He has also been charged with an offence under the Public Order Act, an offence under the Animal Welfare Act and an offence under the Firearms Act.

Police said on Thursday night that he remains in custody.

Country Watch Sergeant Stuart Ross said: "Since this incident took place, we have been actively pursuing a number of lines of inquiry and working with partner agencies to establish the circumstances of what happened.

"We are grateful for the help we have received from the local community and we'd like to thank them for their patience while we investigate what happened.

"There may be some people with information who have not yet come forward, and if so, we would urge them to do so as soon as possible."

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Owl found 'impaled on the door handles'

Mike Hensman, the shop's treasurer, said the barn owl and kestrel were found "stuffed" on the door handles and blood was smeared on the windows.

"It was bedlam, it was just covered in dead hares, all the way across this paving here, horrifying," he told Sky News.

"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."

He described how shocked staff and villagers had to remove the remains.

"We cleared it all up, got the police in, had to wash all the windows down and get rid of everything.

"We got a local farmer here to get rid of all the dead hares and we just got on with business because that's what you do in a community. We're servicing the community. We just had to keep going."