The Pagan Police Association (PPA) was called to investigate appalling crimes in New Forest National Park, England after a local police investigation led nowhere and fears began to mount that a satanic cult was active in the park. In recent weeks two dead sheep with pentagrams sprayed on their wool and faces were found in the area, a cow was stabbed in the neck and the number 666, associated with the Antichrist or evil, an inverted cross and phallic symbols were painted on a church.
The attacks left residents of the village shocked and scared, particularly those who have animals in the forest. Other residents feel uneasy about leaving the house after nightfall. Reverend David Bacon said: "The New Forest has always been a place where there's witchcraft. It still goes on today. But the white witches, as they call themselves, will be as appalled by this as anyone else".
After Hampshire Constabulary was stumped they called the Pagan Police Association, which has been investigating such crimes almost since its formation in 2009. The unit, which consists of 200 officers, was created as a support group for pagans, but has become a de facto branch that deals with occult crimes.
Officers from the association examined the evidence, identified potential suspects, and supported local pagan groups that could be targeted in a backlash. Head of the unit, Sergeant Andy Pardy said that although the pentagram is a “very emotive symbol and always creates a furore, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s connected to pagans". Pardy said previous cases suggest that teenagers or someone with a mental illness could be behind the recent crimes.
According to the last census more than 50,000 people practice paganism in Britain, the Sunday Times reported.
Simon Wood, who works in PPA and is also a member of a pagan clan “Pagans of Ytene” said there are lots of clans active in the New Forest, but stressed that pagans face widespread discrimination and are abused for holding open ceremonies in the park and looking different.
"There is a worry among us that this could be the work of someone intentionally trying to paint us in a bad light when really we are just as appalled as everyone by this", said Simon Wood.