Friday 19 July 2019

WATCH: Man sentenced after footage shows him stealing sheep and releasing in UK

By Josh Payne, Press Association

A man who filmed himself stealing a sheep from the banks of Ladybower Reservoir before driving to Sheffield and releasing it has been sentenced.

A man who filmed himself stealing a sheep before releasing it into a suburban area of a city has been given a community order.

Ali El-Aridi posted the video on Snapchat, including photos and a clip of him chasing the sheep along the banks of the Ladybower Reservoir in Derbyshire in August last year.

The 23-year-old launched an expletive rant at the animal when he managed to catch it, which he also recorded on his phone, Derbyshire Police said.

He then drove the sheep to his home city of Sheffield and filmed himself releasing it.

The Derbyshire force's rural crime team was alerted by members of the public and Facebook users who witnessed the theft.

Police said the animal had been rescued and was reunited with its owner after a day.

Officers searched El-Aridi's phone and found the recordings as well as two extreme pornographic images.

He admitted the theft of the sheep and was found guilty of possession of extreme pornography at Chesterfield Justice Centre.

El-Aridi, of Stubbin Lane, Sheffield, was sentenced to a 12-month community order and must complete 100 hours of unpaid work, as well as paying £620 in costs, the force said.

Pc Andy Shaw, from the force's rural crime team, said: "El-Aridi initially denied stealing the sheep but, after we had a look at his phone and found the videos, unsurprisingly the next time we interviewed him his story was somewhat different.

"The sheer disregard for the animal's welfare is plainly evident in El-Aridi's video, and in fact he seemed to care significantly more about the mess it had made to his boot lining.

"This case was a great example of the police and the community coming together not only to recover the animal but also to secure a conviction.

"It also shows that social media has real value in modern policing, and I hope it goes on to demonstrate to our rural communities that we are alert to crime and will take action to tackle it and put offenders before the courts."

Pc Shaw said the theft of the sheep was just one of many similar reports of theft police receive.

He said: "Livestock theft is an ongoing problem nationally and one that we take seriously.

"Single animals disappear in cases such as this but we also receive reports of animals being taken on a much larger scale."

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