A loose dog has killed 16 sheep on a farm in Sussex and has left the owner of the flock “devastated” after the incident.

Police officers are appealing for witnesses to the incident which happened between 1:00am and 4:00am on November 20.

The police have warned dog owners that farmers are legally allowed to shoot dogs that are chasing livestock and that they are also able to claim compensation.

Sergeant Jon Attfield from the Sussex Police Rural Crime Team said:

“We want to speak to anyone who was in the area at the time of this incident.

This appalling attack has left the sheep owner with a reduced livelihood, which is particularly distressing during the Covid-19 pandemic and national lockdown, and we need the public’s help in bringing the culprit to justice.

“Sheep worrying and attacking a sheep is a crime and we take it very seriously in Sussex.

“We urge people to keep their dogs under control and certainly on a lead while they are walking in rural areas and around livestock.

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.

“A farmer can legally shoot a dog that is chasing livestock and seek compensation from the person responsible for the animal, so please don’t take the risk,” he concluded.