A HEADLESS deer with gunshot wounds to its legs and body has been found near a New Forest beauty spot.

Police are appealing for information following the grisly discovery, which was made beside the A338 near Blashford Lakes, Ringwood.

Officers say the dead animal is thought to be a large Fallow buck.

A police spokesman said: "It was found to have suffered gunshot wounds to its legs and body and its head had been removed.

"A vet attended the scene alongside Country Watch officers and said the deer had also probably been hit by a vehicle.

"At this time, we are not linking this animal death to any other incident."

The deer was found on the morning of Wednesday, January 29 but details have only just been released.

The spokesman said: "We would like to hear from anybody with information relating to this incident or anyone who saw anything suspicious in this area prior to Wednesday morning. We would also like hear about any illegal poaching happening in the area."

Anyone with information can contact Hampshire police on 101, quoting reference number 44200036518.

Alternatively they can email countrywatch@hampshire.pnn.police.uk or ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, where messages can be left anonymously.