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  1. ITV Report

Eighteen sheep killed on road after being 'panicked by dogs'

The driver of the BMW was unharmed but 'very shaken'. Credit: Sussex Police/PA
  • WARNING: This article contains an image of dead sheep

Eighteen sheep have died after apparently being panicked into running on to a road by dogs in a suspected sheep worrying incident.

The sheep, all ewes heavily in lamb, are believed to have been spooked by dogs and stampeded out of their field near Battle in East Sussex.

After being alerted by the land owner that one of his animals had been hit by a car, the owner of the sheep found police at the scene, where 18 sheep were dead on the road and in a nearby ditch.

A further 60 sheep were affected and it is feared they may have to abort their lambs in the coming days.

The driver of a badly damaged BMW involved in the incident, which happened near the entrance to Little Standard Hill Farm, was unharmed but reported to be "very shaken".

The dead sheep were worth more than £2,500 and their unborn lambs at least another £1,350.

The sheep were all ewes heavily in lamb. Credit: Sussex Police/PA

A neighbour reported two people walking two dogs, thought to be brown Labradors, in the area on February 12, despite there being no public rights of way. Police urged dog owners not to let their pets roam free where there may be livestock.

Sergeant Tom Carter said: "Aside from the financial cost, there is the emotional impact on those who have raised and nurtured their stock."

Sussex has had more sheep worrying deaths than any other part of the country.

A farmer can legally shoot a dog chasing their livestock and seek compensation from the animal's owner.

Mr Carter said: "So often in these incidents the owners are horrified by what their dogs have done, but they have to accept that even the most docile of pets can quickly turn into a killer given the opportunity."