ANIMALS are being hurt and killed in a series of mysterious incidents in the New Forest, police say.

Cows and sheep have suffered ‘puncture wounds’ near Lyndhurst over the space of just two days. One ewe found dead at the roadside had one of the wounds to its side.

Police appear to be linking the death of the ewe with two further incidents in which cows were apparently attacked.

Officers were called to Penn Common Road, Bramshaw at 11am on Tuesday, November 19 after a dead ewe was found on the side of the carriageway.

The sheep had a stab wound to its side.

Officials from Hampshire police said: “We are looking to see if this incident is linked to two other incidents in which cows have been found with wounds.

“One of these incidents took place sometime between 2.30pm on Tuesday, November 19 and 9.10am on Wednesday, November 20.

“A heifer was let out in the Bramshaw area and when it returned it was found to have a wound on its neck.

“The animal was taken to the vets for treatment.

“The second incident took place sometime between 7pm on Tuesday, November 12 and 1pm on Thursday, November 14.

“Two calves that had been let out in the Linwood area returned with small wounds to their shoulder.

“The wounds have been treated.”

Sergeant Andy Williams, of Hampshire Constabulary’s Country Watch team, said: “These incidents are unusual in the New Forest.

“We are looking at the circumstances of each one to see if they are linked, and to see how these animals came to be injured.

“If you have any information that could help our enquiries, then please call 101, quoting the crime reference number 44190416137.

“We would also urge anyone who uses the Forest, including commoners, to be vigilant.

“Please contact us if you see anything suspicious, even if you think what you have seen or heard is not that important.”

In October, a horse was found stabbed to death in a field in Walkford Lane, Walkford, Christchurch.

The animal was killed by a serious wound to the chest.

A spokesperson for the RSPCA called for anyone with information to come forward after the incident.

“It’s absolutely shocking that someone would do something like this,” she said. “How awful for the poor horse.”