Sheep killing investigation: College permanently excludes two students who were arrested

Plumpton College has announced that it has permanently excluded two students following reports of a sheep being killed near Ditchling Beacon.

Earlier this month Sussex Police said the incident was understood to have taken place on Thursday night, November 2. Police said two men from Kent, aged 20 and 18, were arrested on suspicion of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and criminal damage.

Police said both had been released on conditional bail, adding that two others linked to the investigation were being treated as ‘significant witnesses’.

On Friday, November 24, Plumpton College released a statement. A spokesperson said: “Plumpton College has now, in line with its own internal policies and procedures, completed their own review, which has today resulted in the two individuals that were arrested being permanently excluded and prevented from ever studying at the college again. In relation to the two other students who are being treated as significant witnesses, both have been withdrawn from their course in order to safeguard student welfare and to preserve the integrity of the Police investigation.”

Principal Jeremy Kerswell said: “We remain appalled by this incident and saddened by the impact that this has had on our other students, our staff and the wider community. We have always understood and mirrored the depth of feelings triggered by this incident which in no way represents our values and the high standards that we strive to achieve on a daily basis. Our thanks go to those who have supported us during this difficult time; we will of course reflect and learn from this experience and do all that we can to continue to educate our students in exemplary practices in animal welfare.”

The college said it will not make any further statement about the incident.

In a statement earlier this month, a police spokesperson confirmed that the four people linked to the investigation were all students at Plumpton College, which had been co-operating fully.

Superintendent Rachel Swinney said: “A thorough investigation is underway into this disturbing report, which we are treating extremely seriously.”

She said: “We have also engaged with the owner of the sheep, local farmers and the wider community to provide reassurance and advice.”

People with information can call 101, quoting Op Chelmsford.