A community is in shock following the arrest of a man and woman after a sheep was allegedly mutilating and killed.
It is thought the couple are being questioned on suspicion of outraging public decency and animal cruelty offences.
It is believed the sheep’s head was chopped off and paraded in front of children in Willington, County Durham. A selection of knives was also found in a house there.
The drama unfolded late on Sunday night and into early Monday when concerned residents began to ring police about a sheep’s head left in the rear of a property in North Terrace in the town.
Detectives responding to the incident later made the grim discovery of the rest of the sheep in a farmer’s nearby field.
The carcass was taken to a vet who carried out an examination which suggested the animal was mutilated before it died.
Two people who live in North Terrace, a man aged 28 originally from Consett, in County Durham, and a woman aged 39, from the town, were then arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty and outraging public decency.
Three children, a girl and two boys have been taken into the care of social services.
Police confirmed they are investigating claims the sheep’s head was shown to a number of young children before it was left in the yard.
Acting Sgt Simon Schofield said: “We received a number of calls from local residents who were shocked and upset by what their children told them. As a result of our inquiries, we arrested two people and they are being interviewed about the alleged offences.
“This has clearly provoked strong feelings in the community and we can assure residents we are treating this incident very seriously.”
A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “We would urge anyone with information about the matter to contact the police who are leading the investigation.”
Anyone with information who has not already contacted the police is urged to ring 101 and ask for the Neighbourhood Police Team at Crook.