Update: RSPCA condemn those who left partially burnt bodies of horses in West Stow's Kings Forest as they see spike in number of abandoned horses

PUBLISHED: 11:41 17 December 2014 | UPDATED: 11:47 17 December 2014

Winter weather in Kings Forest near Elveden.

Winter weather in Kings Forest near Elveden.

The bodies of two partially burnt horses were discovered with gun shot wounds in Kings Forest, near Bury St Edmunds, on Sunday.

A charity involved in investigating the incident has condemned the practice as “irresponsible” but said it is a symptom of people being unable to care for the number of horses being bred.

Both the animals were found partially burnt in the West Stow forest, owned by the Forestry Commission.

The RSPCA, Suffolk Police and vets from Redwings Horse Sanctuary, in Norfolk, are working together to investigate the crime.

The dumping of dead animals is against the law, but police also believe a firearms offence could have been committed if it is discovered the two horses were shot in the forest.

Nicola Markwell, head of communications at Redwings, said: “Our field officers and our vet have been helping this [yesterday] afternoon with the investigation.”

She said she could not comment on what the team found out about the death of the horses at this stage.

Speaking about the wider issue of abandoned horses, she said: “We are seeing increasing issues with horses and generally more horses being abandoned and more horses being illegally killed.

“It seems to be associated with a wider issue. As for this incident... it is certainly not an isolated incident. Whether it is the cost of euthanasia, or any other reason, it is completely irresponsible to deal with a horse in that way.”

Suffolk Police’s rural crime officer, Pc Mark Bryant, said: “We went out there yesterday [Monday] afternoon to look at the scene. We have asked vets from Redwings to try and ascertain whether the horses were shot at the scene.

“I will have more information when they report back to us.”

A Suffolk Police spokesman said: “Police received reports on Sunday, December 14, of two dead horses at the King Forest, West Stow that appeared to have suffered gunshot wounds and burns.

“Police and the RSCPA are currently investigating the circumstances around the deaths of the horses.”

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