A Wiltshire farmer is appealing for the public to help her tackle a spate of incidents on grazing land near Chippenham which she fears could put the lives of both people and her cows at risk.

Gretchen Winter, of Netherstreet Farm, has been plagued by a series of unexplained and dangerous episodes caused by people walking on land at Roundway, where her herd of Galloway cattle are currently grazing.

The incidents include people leaving nitrous oxide “laughing gas” canisters in the grass – which could be swallowed by curious calves – and people removing signs warning that there is a bull in the field.

Mrs Winter, who also runs the popular Farm Cookery School, has taken to Facebook to appeal to the public for help and has also contacted the Wiltshire Police rural crime team in a bid to keep her cattle safe.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Gretchen Winter of Netherstreet Farm, near Chippenham.Gretchen Winter of Netherstreet Farm, near Chippenham.

She posted: “We don't know why, but this is what is happening on Roundway, where our herd of Galloways are currently grazing.

“The fence electrics are being turned off, this is dangerous for the herd and for the public.

“The gate between the two fields has been closed and bolted meaning that the cows had no access to water overnight, which is animal cruelty.

“We cannot understand the reasoning behind it. So many things happen including locks being glued, fences cut and signs being ripped down, but this feels more personal and hateful.

“We just don't understand why people are doing this, what have they got to gain? We want to protect people and our herd, please help and contact us if you have any information.”

Mrs Winter said that although the situation has calmed in recent days, she is still concerned.

She added: “We’ve had people cutting wires in the fencing because it’s easier for them to get through, rather than walking round, and one woman has told me that it’s ‘disgusting’ that I have cows in a field because she wants to walk there.

“We’ve also had people leaving nitrous oxide cannisters behind them and that could be dangerous for the calves, who are curious about things like that and could easily swallow them.

“My family have farmed this land since 1890 and occasional incidents are an ongoing situation. But this is absolutely ludicrous. I just want everyone to work together and give more respect for the area and more respect for the safety of the animals.”

Anyone with any information about the incidents is asked to contact the Wiltshire Police Rural Crime Team at ruralcrimeteam@wiltshire.police.uk or call the police by dialling 101.