WARNING: This article includes images that some may find distressing

LOCAL farm owners were left appalled after they discovered that one of their lambs had been 'beaten to death' by sticks - with young children suspected of being responsible.

James Musgrave, of Musgrave & Sons in Dalston, was alerted to the incident by a member of public as he was going to shepherd on the afternoon of May 5.

Sarah Reay, of the Cardew Hall farm and partner to James, said: "My partner was going to shepherd and he was stopped by a member of the public who had said they seen something happen.

"The member of the public said she had seen it happen - she told the three youngsters to stop.

"It's a little lamb, they don't get abused, they're very harmless creatures - it's a shame to think what that poor lamb went through," she said.

News and Star: DISTRESS: Lamb discovered by farm owners after the incident. DISTRESS: Lamb discovered by farm owners after the incident.

Shockingly, she claimed that she believes the perpetrators may be aged less than 10 years old. 

"The children are at the age in which they cannot be held criminally responsible, but it's more the fact what is going on in their heads that they think this is okay and normal.

"I can't understand why someone would ever do this," she said. 

Sarah said the mother will be in distress and whilst it's not about the money, the lamb would have been worth around £150. 

"There's nothing the police can do for the lamb but it's more just the fact it's not normal behaviour.  

"My kids and all the other kids I know, there's not one of them with that mentality, they know right from wrong. 

"I'd like to think this is a one-off but you never know, what if it's another animal next or even another child," she said. 

Whilst the eyewitness said they saw three children at the incident, the farm owners are looking to see if there were perhaps more involved in the outrageous act.

"I put a post on Facebook, just to raise awareness and also because we're about a mile from the village, at least if people are aware of what these people are doing, they may be able to let us know in the future, so we can act quicker," she said. 

Sarah is hoping that the parents take responsibility for their children's actions alongside receive an apology and some remorse from the children involved, but she is not hopeful. 

Cumbria Constabulary have confirmed receiving a report on the matter. 

A spokesperson said: "Anyone with information is asked to report online at cumbria.police.uk/reportit, quoting incident number 36 of May 9. You can also phone on 101.

"Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111," they said. 

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