POLICE investigating the deaths of three sheep are urging the public to help them stop poachers. 

Officers said early inquiries into the deaths of three sheep on a farm near Matfen on October 9 have lead them to suspect poachers were responsible.

The injuries were so severe that two sheep died at the scene and one had to be put down by a vet. The incident was reported to police at 2.45pm. 

Wildlife officer Lee Davison, of Northumbria Police, has issued advice on how the public can help police stop poaching and bring any offenders before a court.

He said: “It is really important to call the police if you see anything suspicious. This information not only assists the attending officer so they know what they are looking for but it also helps us gather evidence and progress investigations.

“The most obvious sign is a group of vehicles parked in a rural area - by a gateway to farmland, on a grass verge, farm track or bridle path.

“Other useful information is descriptions of suspects, including how many and any accents, as this will help determine the areas the suspects maybe travelling from.

“Try and recall anything said and write it down as soon as possible, as well as what they’re wearing and if they have any dogs with them.

“What we also find really useful is vehicle information, so things like direction of travel, registrations as well as the make and model of the vehicle and any noticeable damage to it.

“If you find anything that may be evidence, such as tyre marks, foot prints or blood, then take a photo and try to preserve it by covering it with a plastic bag or sheet until officers arrive.

“Remember all information is potentially important as even the smallest detail could match with someone else’s report and help build a case against a suspected offender.

“All of this helps us to respond effectively and efficiently to incidents and gives officers the best chance of identifying suspects and making arrests.”

Anyone who sees anything suspicious or has any information about illegal poaching is asked to contact police via 101.

Anyone who has information about the incident near Matfen is also asked to contact officers and quote reference number 657 of 09/10/19.