Five animal hearts laid out in a pattern and surrounded by a circle of candles have been found at a beauty spot as part of an apparent Satanist ritual.
Photos show the meat laid on a triangulation point following an elaborate ceremony at the top of Stagbury Hill in the New Forest.
A member of the public discovered the hearts and cleared them up before reporting it to the police – who told locals they are patrolling the area in the national park.
The grim scene was found close to a church where a dead cat was last month found by congregation members hanging ‘horribly’ from a flagpole, forcing the vicar issue a warning about the prospect of witchcraft.
Last month the vicar of the church in Bramshaw, Hampshire, warned of ‘sinister’ goings-on after the bodies of dead animals were discovered deliberately left there.
Reverend David Bacon raised the prospect of ‘witchcraft’ after the cat was found just before Christmas.
Just a few weeks before this, a dead fox was found on the doorstep of the 12th century church.
After this latest hilltop discovery earlier this month, a Facebook user commented: ‘Weird – connected to the cat strung up the flagpole and the dead fox left on the church steps?’
Another said: ‘Very odd! Probably linked to the strange things left at the church recently?’
A fellow social media user added: ‘Perhaps the idiots thought the Trig Point was a sacred druid shrine or something?’ One commenter said: ‘Could have poison in it, some strange ritual’ and posted an emoji of a witch.
Rev Bacon said the group of ladies who found the cat when they came to clean St Peter’s Church and get it ready for Christmas had been left ‘unsettled’.
In 2019, the same New Forest village was terrorised by suspected Satanists who stabbed sheep and sprayed them with pentagrams and graffitied Rev Bacon’s medieval church with the same occult markings.
The vicar said he isn’t sure who is behind this, saying it could be people ‘just angry at the world’ or it could be people concerned with witchcraft.
He said last month: ‘The cat – rather horribly – was found hanging from the flagpole. The fox was left on the doorstep, but it’s very unlikely it died there naturally.
‘The cat was found by a group of ladies on Monday. They were coming in to clean the church for Christmas but found it on the flagpole. It was really upsetting for them.
‘Every so often we get things like this happening. It makes everybody feel very uncomfortable.
‘I can’t say definitively if it’s linked to the sheep killings from a few years ago. We have no idea what motivated this.
‘Are they just angry at life in general, or against the church, or is it linked to witchcraft? I can’t say.