Four teenagers who caused serious injuries to sheep in Gosport have admitted the offences.
Police received reports of a group of people throwing bricks at the animals at Alver Valley Nature Reserve on Tuesday 30 April this year.
Enquiries discovered that there had been another incident in which the sheep were chased and hit with sticks.
When officers attended the scene, they found that a number of animals had horns snapped off and others suffered serious eye injuries.
The investigation was taken on by Hampshire Constabulary’s dedicated Country Watch team, who lead our efforts to prevent, detect and disrupt rural and wildlife crime.
A number of arrests were made, and four people were subsequently charged with causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
They are a 15-year-old girl, a 14-year-old boy, and a 13-year-old boy, all from Gosport, and a 14-year-old boy from Holbury, New Forest.
All four appeared at Portsmouth Youth Court yesterday (Monday 25 November) where they pleaded guilty and were sentenced as follows:
The 15-year-old girl from Gosport received a 12-month referral order.
The 14-year-old boy from Gosport received a 12-month referral order.
The 13-year-old boy from Gosport received a nine-month extension to a current three-month referral order.
The 14-year-old boy from Holbury, New Forest, received a 12-month youth rehabilitation order.
They were all ordered to pay £85 compensation each, and £85 each in costs.
Following the sentencing, Police Staff Investigator Anna Presswell, from the Country Watch Team, said: “These incidents were truly shocking, and from my experience this was the most severe case of cruelty caused by children to animals that I have seen.
“What struck me most about this case is the effect it had on all officers and staff involved, from those who first attended the scene to the team that brought this to court. All were equally appalled by what they had come across.
“The animals were seriously hurt, with one losing its eye completely, and all were visibly shaking and panting when police arrived.
“I am pleased that this case has now concluded, and I hope this sends a message to anyone in the community about the consequences of animal cruelty.”