A third defendant is set to stand trial in March
Two men have pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to steal, slaughter and illegally butcher over 350 sheep and lambs across Northamptonshire.
Robert Iordan, aged 23, and Florin Nutu, aged 36, both appeared before Northampton Crown Court this morning where they changed their plea to guilty.
It comes after they originally pleaded not guilty to the offence in January.
Both men will be sentenced after the trial of Viorel Manu, aged 39, which is due to start on Monday, March 23. Manu was the third man charged in November 2019 as part of the same investigation and has pleaded not guilty.
All three are from Birmingham.
The conspiracy is in relation to the months of sheep killings that plagued the county between July and October in 2019.
In a hearing in October 2019, Northampton Magistrate's Court heard the gruesome details of how the alleged operation was carried out.
The prosecution lawyer said: "The conspiracy involved the slaughter of about 350 sheep, all that have been slaughtered inhumanely.
"Vehicles and weapons have been taken to the location on local farmers' fields, the sheep are captured and a knife is taken to their throats and they suffer a slow and painful death.
"A pipe is then inserted in to the throat of the sheep which are blown up, they are skinned and their remains are left at the scene."
Iordan, 23, and Nutu, 35, were arrested on the A14 in the early hours of October 7 shortly after the discovery of nine illegally butchered sheep near Welton.
Manu, 38, was arrested in Birmingham shortly afterwards.
All three men - who all live on Dunsink Road, Birmingham - pleaded not guilty to the conspiracy.