Two ewes had to be put down after each had a leg "chewed off" in a sheep worrying incident in Sherborne, writes Jane Reader.

There are fears many others will abort their lambs due to shock following the incident, which took place at a farm in the Goat Hill area of Sherborne on Christmas Day or Boxing Day.

Police were alerted after the ewes were found in a distressed state at 10.30am on December 26.

Now police have warned dog owners to ensure their animals are on leads when they are in a field or enclosure of sheep.

A spokesman said: "Livestock worrying is a criminal offence under the Protection of Livestock Act 1953 and does not require an animal to be injured. Allowing a dog to be off a lead or otherwise not under close control in a field or enclosure of sheep is an offence. The penalty for livestock worrying can be six months' imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £1,000.

"If you are a dog owner please ensure your dog is on a lead whenever it is near livestock. At this time of year farmers may move livestock between fields so be extremely mindful to check."

Anyone with information about the offence is asked to call Dorset Police on 101, quoting incident number 26:0081.