Hampshire police received reports of a group of people throwing bricks at sheep at Alver Valley Nature Reserve in April 2019. Following enquiries officers discovered that there had been another incident in which the sheep were chased and hit with sticks.

When officers attended the scene, they found that horns had been snapped off several animals and others suffered serious eye injuries. The investigation was taken on by Hampshire Constabulary’s Country Watch team and four teenagers were charged with causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

All four pleaded guilty at Portsmouth Youth Court. A fifteen year old girl from Gosport received a 12 month referral order; a 14 year old boy also from Gosport received a 12 month referral order; a 13 year old boy was given a nine months extension to a current three month referral order and a fourteen year old boy from Holburn, New Forest received a 12 month youth rehabilitation order.

All were ordered to pay £85 compensation each, and £85 each in costs.

Anna Presswell, police Investigator from the Country Watch Team, said: “These incidents were truly shocking, and from my experience this was the most severe case of cruelty caused by children to animals that I have seen.

“What struck me most about this case is the effect it had on all officers and staff involved, from those who first attended the scene to the team that brought this to court. All were equally appalled by what they had come across.

“The animals were seriously hurt, with one losing its eye completely, and all were visibly shaking and panting when police arrived.

“I am pleased that this case has now concluded, and I hope this sends a message to anyone in the community about the consequences of animal cruelty.”