A DEER was mauled to death by dogs in a Ribble Valley village.

The attack by two lurcher-type dogs happened in a field in Rimmington and left the roe deer with fatal wounds.

Police said the attack was reported to them by a resident who witnessed the dogs bite the animal. Wildlife officer PC Carl Chew said poaching was quite common at this time of year.

He said: “The witness heard a noise outside and there were two black lurchers killing a deer.

“He could hear somebody whistling for the dogs to come back. He then saw somebody with a spot lamp.

“The suspect then made off.

“The deer could have been killed for the meat, but because they have been disturbed, they may well have just left it in situ.”

He encouraged residents living in rural areas to be vigilant and if they see any suspicious vehicles to note down the registration numbers. PC Chew said officers would continue to target those believed to be poaching.

He said: “When we stop people and they are in possession of high-powered lamping equipment and hunting dogs, this obviously arouses suspicion that they may be poaching or illegally hunting.

“We are taking a tough stance on this type of rural crime, with joint patrols with partner agencies, land owners and gamekeepers taking place.

“Part of the issue is that you do not know what you are getting if you buy this kind of meat.

“There might not have been the proper checks done on it to make sure it has not got diseases, worms or TB that could be passed on to humans.”

Anybody with information about poaching chould call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. Residents can also sign up to Lancashire Police’s In the Know System for updates on rural crime. Visit www.lancashire.police.uk for more information.