Iceland Mag

13 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag


Group of travellers arrested as they were preparing to cook a lamb they had stolen, killed

By Staff

  • An ewe with lambs Icelandic lamb roams free in the highlands and mountains during the summer. Photo/Vísir.

Police in East Iceland arrested a group of nine American travellers after it was discovered they had stolen and killed a lamb. Police believes the men had intended to cook and eat the lamb. The men were fined and charged with sheep rustling.

Locals in Breiðdalsvík village in East Iceland saw the group of men chasing the lamb and called the police. When police arrived the men first tried to hide the lamb they had killed, but then claimed they had only tried to „ease its suffering“.

Sheep farmer was at dinner party
The sheep belonged to Björgvin Gunnarson, who is a farmer at the farm Ós. The wannabe sheep rustlers were chasing the sheep in the fields by his farm when they were spotted by locals.

A local man, Bjarki Svavarsson, who witnessed the incidence told the local newspaper Morgunblaðið that he immediately called the police, as he did not want to approach the men alone, as there were nine of them, and they were behaving suspiciously.

The farmer at Ós, Björgvin, was also notified of the rustlers. He had been having dinner at a friend’s house in Breiðdalsvík village. His nephew and a second daughter went to check what was going on, and saw that the men had managed to corner the lamb, and immediately called the police. The men were travelling on two RVs.

Björgvin confronted the men who seemed to think they had done nothing wrong. "They were very rude, argumentative and just lied through their teeth," Björgvin told Morgunblaðið.

Lied to police, posed as photographers
Björgvin told the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service RÚV the men had first attempted to claim they had been photographing, but when pressed by the police which arrived at the scene with Björgvin, they finally gave up and allowed the police to inspect their vehicle. At that time the dead lamb was found. The young lamb, which weighed between 10 and 12 kg (22-26 lbs), had been stuffed into a trashbag and hidden in one of the two vehicles.

"It certainly wasn‘t a nice feeling to see the lamb lying there, stuffed into a black trash bag, its throat cut, and the knife lying there under the bag."

Claimed they had been "rescuing" the lamb
Once the lamb had been discovered the men still attempted to spin some lies:

"They claimed they had really been trying to save the lamb, that it had for some reason jumped into the sea, and that they had then saved it from drowning."

The men claimed the lamb had been seriously injured during this bizarre chain of events, leaving them with no option other than to cut its throat to ease its suffering. "But of course they had just been hunting for something to put on the barbq," Björgvin told Morgunblaðið.

Arrested and charged with theft
The men were arrested and taken to the Police station in Fáskrúðsfjörður town, where they were charged with theft and a violation of the animal safety code. During interrogation the men admitted their crime.

After having paid the farmer for the damage and a fine of 120,000 ISK (1,200 USD) the men were released.

A growing problem
According to Morgunblaðið local farmers in East Iceland have noticed an uptick in the number of lambs who disappear during summer. Björgvin and Bjarki told the newspaper that they suspected a part of this increase could be explained by unscrupulous travellers who thought they could steal and kill livestock:

"There are always some lambs who are killed by natural causes during the summer, but some are being killed by tourists."

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