Sheep deaths 'link to dog fights'
A spate of sheep killing in Herefordshire and Worcestershire could be supporting illegal dog fighting, police have said.
In the past month sheep and lambs have been found dead in Broome, Clent and Chaddesley Corbett, some with bite marks and others tied up by their legs.
Farmers claim their sheep are being used to give dogs a taste for blood.
West Mercia Police said the deaths could be linked to dog fighting or poaching.
Four sheep were found dead with bite marks in March and on three other occasions lambs were found tied by the legs hanging from a gatepost.
Pc Andy Wallace said: "The farmers are convinced this is the work of poachers who they say use the sheep to give their young terriers a taste of blood and to feed them.
"This is done to prepare the animals for illegal poaching or possibly even dog fighting.
"We believe this is connected to an increase in poaching on farmland."
A reporting scheme, based on neighbourhood watch, has been set up in north Worcestershire to help increase farm security and anyone who spots anything suspicious is asked to contact West Mercia Police.
About £30,000 worth of livestock was stolen in Herefordshire in March.