POLICE have appealed for witnesses with information regarding a number of "suspicious incidents" involving animals in the New Forest area.

Officers received reports of a dead ewe -a female sheep- with a fatal puncture wound on its side in an incident that took place at around 11am on Tuesday November 19.

The ewe was found on the side of Penn Common Road, Bramshaw.

This is one of four occasions where an animal was found injured in the area, and has sparked Police to investigate the connection between the incidents.

Sometime between 7pm on Tuesday November 12 and 1pm on Thursday November 14, two calves were let out in the Linwood area and returned with shoulder wounds which have since been treated.

Then between 2.30pm on Tuesday November 19 and 9.10am on Wednesday November 20, a heifer -a female cow- was let out in the Bramshaw area, and when it retuned it was found to have a neck wound before being taken to the vets for treatment.

Sergeant Andy Williams, of Hampshire Constabulary’s Country Watch team, said: “These incidents are unusual in the New Forest. We are looking at the circumstances of each one to see if they are linked, and to see how these animals came to be injured.

“We would also urge anyone who uses the Forest, including Commoners, to be vigilant. Please contact us if you see anything suspicious, even if you think what you have seen or heard is not that important.”

Police have urged anyone with information on one of the incidents, or witnessed anything suspicious that could help with the enquiries, to contact the 101 service, quoting the reference number 44190416137.

Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.