A man and a woman have been arrested and are in police custody after a sheep was allegedly mutilated and then killed in Willington at the weekend.
Residents rang police late on Sunday night and early on Monday morning reporting a sheep’s head had been left in the rear yard of a house.
The rest of the sheep's body was found in a nearby field. An examination of the carcass has suggested that it was mutilated before the sheep died.
A man and a woman have been arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty and outraging public decency.
Several knives were also seized from a house in the area.
Durham Police have confirmed that they are investigating claims that the sheep's head was shown to a number of young children before it was left in the yard of the house.
Anyone with information is being urged to ring 101 and ask for the Neighbourhood Police Team based at Crook.