A number of teenagers have been arrested by police in Hampshire on suspicion of animal cruelty following the injuring of a number of sheep.

The arrests followed two incidents where sheep were injured at Alver Valley Nature Reserve in Gosport.

Hampshire Police responded to calls shortly after 3:30pm on Tuesday April 30, in relation to objects being thrown at the animals at around 1:00pm earlier that day.

Three children were seen in the area at the time, according to police.

Subsequently, on Wednesday, May 1, shortly before 5:45pm, a second report was received of objects being thrown at the animals.

Officers attended and arrested six people on suspicion of animal cruelty and criminal damage, including a 12-year-old boy, three 13-year-old boys, and a girl and a boy both aged 14.

They were later released from custody without charge, but remain under investigation, according to Hampshire Police, while a plea was made for information from any possible witnesses.

Sergeant Katie Clift from Gosport’s Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “Alver Valley Nature Reserve attracts many people from across the area, especially when the weather is good."

The officer urged anyone with information to get in touch.

The owner of the sheep, the Alver Valley Country Park, issued a statement adding: "Unfortunately a small fraction of our younger generation feel that this is acceptable behaviour.

Part of our herd were rounded up and cornered before having rocks and other heavy items thrown at them.

"The three male teenagers were wearing a dark hoody and two in lighter sweaters. All were wearing tracksuit bottoms."