A FARMER has spoken of her devastation at a 'barbaric act of animal cruelty'.
Joe Beckett, who farms near Marton, discovered one of her sheep with gunshots wounds early on Tuesday morning.
The animal had been shot with a high-power rifle and left by the offenders suffering in great distress, before Ms Beckett found it in the field several hours later. Its injuries were so severe it had to be euthanised.
Ms Beckett said: "We stay with these sheep night and day when they are lambing. In her case that was only three weeks ago. She had only been out in the field a week. We are now left with two little orphans. As farmers we fully appreciate that most of our animals are bred to supply the food chain, however this was a totally unnecessary murder.
"Shooting her in the neck and leaving her to die a slow painful death, until we found her and immediately put her to sleep. Needless to say we are absolutely furious at this barbaric act of animal cruelty."
Police are appealing for witnesses after the offenders also caused extensive damage to hedges, crops and a gate on land off Malton Road, Marton between 10pm on Monday 16 May and 5am on Tuesday 17 May, offenders entered land off Malton Road at Marton, near Sinnington.
Officers from North Yorkshire Police's Rural Taskforce are investigating the incident, and are carrying out extensive enquiries in the area.
Police are appealing for anyone who knows anything about the incident, or saw any suspicious vehicles or people in the area to contact them as a matter of urgency.
Anyone who can assist the investigation is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org, or dial 101, select option 2 and ask for PC Neil Cholmondeley.
Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Quote reference number NYP-17052016-0054 when passing information.