Page last updated at 09:14 GMT, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Sheep targeted in graffiti attack

The sheep were daubed with tricolours in a 'blatant display of sectarianism'

Six sheep belonging to a farmer who lives near Ardboe in County Tyrone have been targeted in a paint attack.

The man, who is a Protestant and wants to remain anonymous, said his animals had been daubed with tricolours.

He said the ewes were in lamb and he fears some may lose their unborn young as a result of the stress they have suffered during the incident.

UUP MLA Billy Armstrong said the attack was sectarian and intended to intimidate the farmer.

He rejected the idea that it may have been a Halloween prank and said it was an attack "on Protestant people in a very nationalist area".

The farmer had experienced some minor trouble in the area before - republican graffiti had been sprayed on roads near his home and the gate of his field was left open.

He said he was "disappointed" at the latest incident which he described as a "blatant display of sectarianism".

The farmer said he would usually have sold the sheep by this stage but he cannot bring the animals to market covered in the indelible dye.

He said he will now have to wait until next May when their fleeces can be shorn.

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