FARMERS have been warned to keep an eye on their sheep after a flock of in-lamb ewes were attacked at a farm in Askwith.

The animals, belonging to Valerie and Alan Morris, of Townhead Farm, Askwith Moor Road, were discovered in a shocked and distressed condition last Wednesday by their son, Stuart, and farmhand Gareth Copsey.

Four of the in-lamb Mule ewes were already dead and another 12 animals have since been destroyed, including a pedegree Charolais tup used for breeding, at a total cost of around £1,000.

The attack, believed to be by two dogs, has left Mrs Morris reeling with shock. Before she and Alan took over the 70-acre farm more than 30 years ago, it was run by her parents.

They have horses, cattle, sheep and goats, from which Mrs Morris makes her locally-sold Ashdale cheese.

Mrs Morris said: "I have lived in Askwith all my life and there has never been anything like this before.

"There were 130 ewes and 80 of last season's lambs in the field, mostly Mule and Mule cross, with a few Masham and Black Face, a Charolais tup and Suffolk tup," she added.

Mrs Morris said she thought the dogs must have been in the field for at least an hour and they have run the poor sheep up and down

"It is such a needless waste and the suffering that goes with it is awful," she added.

Mrs Morris said the dog's owners would have had no doubt that their animals had been up to something.

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