ALMOST 20 sheep have been attacked and killed in a field and police believe loose dogs were the culprit.

A total of 18 sheep were killed and more were injured sometime between 4pm on Friday, January 8 and 4.30pm the following day in a field between Warlaby and Ainderby Steeple.

The field has a public footpath running through it and it is suspected that an out of control dog or dogs caused the damage.

North Yorkshire Police are investigating and are urging anyone who has any information about this incident to contact them on 101 and quote reference number 12210011661.

Officers have also appealed for dog owners to keep their pets on leads at all times when near livestock.

As well as the direct damage caused by attacks, if pregnant ewes are chased around a field by a dog it can cause the ewe to abort unborn lambs and later die itself due to medical complications.