A group of students have reportedly attacked a sheep in the South Downs

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Police are investigating reports that four agricultural college students went up to the Downs and attacked a sheep.

A Sussex Police spokesperson told the Express: "We are aware of reports relating to harm caused to a sheep by four students at Plumpton College and are working to establish the full and exact circumstances of what has occurred.

"Both us and the college are making contact with the owner of the sheep and the college is cooperating fully with our ongoing enquiries."

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Plumpton College students, working as apprentices for Hadlow Down farmer Michael Lunn, told him what had happened.

A group of students have reportedly attacked a sheep in the South DownsA group of students have reportedly attacked a sheep in the South Downs
A group of students have reportedly attacked a sheep in the South Downs

Michael said: "They were distressed and horrified. They knew the students involved. It was the most horrific example of animal cruelty. The four picked up the sheep which was grazing on the Downs and kicked its head. It was still alive. Then they split it open, stuck a rookie inside and blew it up.

"My students spoke to me for about half an hour. They were in shock and so was I. What's worse, to my mind, is that the students who did this were just suspended. They should have been expelled.

“They are studying at an agricultural college where many students will go on to work with animals. The college should and must be principally concerned with animal welfare. It beggars belief that these four could go on to work with livestock."

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Plumpton College Principal Jeremy Kerswell told the Express: "At first we were told students had set off fireworks on the Downs. We suspended them immediately. Then it became clear what had actually happened. As you can imagine, we were appalled."