Northumbria Police have issued a warning to dog owners as farmers gear up for lambing season.

March 25 marked the start of Livestock Worrying Awareness Week nationwide.

Last year, the force received 23 reports of livestock worrying, with 11 already reported in 2024.

Inspector Garry Neill, of Northumbria Police’s Rural Crime Team, said: "Livestock worrying is an important issue and something which causes alarm and distress to both the animals involved and their owners.

"In some extreme cases, it can cause the sheep to miscarry, increased vet bills to the owners, and tensions within our rural communities.

“Farmers are technically within their rights to destroy any animal who worries livestock on their land – so it’s really important that dog owners are diligent and responsible with their animals’ recall skills, or they have on a leash at all times."

Northumbria Police is supporting the nationwide ‘Op Recall’ campaign, and the Canine DNA Recovery Project, a national initiative spearheaded by Liverpool John Moores University.

Inspector Neill said "The aim of the Canine DNA Recovery Project is to develop best practice methods for the collection and analysis of dog DNA recovered from attacked livestock and wildlife.

“Hopefully, this will lead to enhanced forensic training and capabilities in the future which will assist with prosecutions for livestock-related offences."