Animals poisoned in series of sickening attacks at young newlyweds' Brierfield smallholding

A young newly wed couple have been left devastated by a series of sickening attacks on the animals they keep on their Brierfield smallholding.

In the first attack a month ago, at the smallholding run by James Cook and his wife Bethany, one of their turkeys was found with its head ripped off.

One of their pigs, a rescue animal, died after a vet confirmed it had been poisoned. The vet was called when the couple found the animal in great distress, unable to move with blood pouring from her nose.

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A second is still in a severely ill condition after she was also poisoned.

The pig that was poisoned (left) huddles close to her sister as she battles to get well.

James said: "Pigs have the intelligence of a three year old and our first pig was found led next to her sister after she died.

"She was clearly devastated and understood what happened."

They also suspect that one of their goats has also been poisoned after it became very ill.

And in the latest attack the culprits stole four three day old ducklings from their parents on the smallholding.

James and Bethany, pictured on their wedding day earlier this month, have been left heartbroken by the senseless attacks on their livestock.

"It is just heartbreaking, we are devastated, " said James. "We don't know why anyone would do this to us but the police have been informed and we have increased security measures at the site."

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Police are studying CCTV footage from the smallholding as part of their investigation and James has warned farmers and other livestock owners in the area to be vigilant and keep an eye on their animals.

He added: "We have heard of similar things happening to other animals across Burnley so we would ask that people be vigilant."

They are also hoping that anyone who walks close to the site will also be alert to any suspicious activity and report it to the police.

The couple, who tied the knot earlier this month at St Peter's Church in Darwen, had revellers at the Boot Inn in Burnley cheering when they held a joint stag and hen do in fancy dress. Bethany dressed as a Hampshire Down sheep as that is the breed they keep on their small holding and James dressed as a cowboy.

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They were joined by James' mum and stepdad, Paulette and Nick Pearce, who gamely dressed up as chickens.

James' brothers Jonathan and Mario also joined the celebrations along with James' sister in law Shona Terrel who was dressed as a cat.

The couple met while working at the Only Foals and Horses sanctuary in Oswaldwistle.

James, who is 24, also works at McDonald's restaurant in Burnley and 18-year-old Bethany works at the Blackburn branch of the Nationwide Building Society.