A VALUABLE show horse has been slashed in a knife attack described as 'vicious and senseless'.

Lucas, an eight-year-old grey Hanoverian gelding, was attacked in a field near Stanley, County Durham, on Monday.

He sustained a large slash wound from his right shoulder down his whole right side to his hind quarter, which penetrated skin and muscle and required immediate attention from a vet.

Acting Sergeant Chris Little said the injury appeared to have been caused by a sharp implement, possibly a hunting knife.

"This was a vicious, deliberate, senseless attack on a defenceless animal.

"I have never seen anything like it and it is impossible to guess what the attacker's motive could be."

Lucas' owner is said to be distraught.

The incident happened in a field near the Harperley crossroads, Kyo Haugh Road, between 8.30am and 5.30pm.

Anyone with information should call Durham Police on 0345-60-60-365.