QUESTIONS have been raised about the effectiveness of a police investigation into the killing of 18 deer on farmland near Bewdley.

A distraught conservationist discovered the dead deer - including fawn as young as three or four weeks old - shot dead in Kinlet in August last year.

Four fawns were orphaned in the massacre and a pregnant doe, which was carrying a full-grown foetus, was among the animals killed.

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After a series of raids by police and firearms officers last September, three men were arrested on suspicion of offences under the Deer Act, but charges were never brought against them.

Fifteen months on, Wyre Forest Green Party are calling for answers about the effectiveness of West Mercia Police's investigation, and want tougher punishments for perpetrators of animal abuse.

It comes two weeks after a dead pony was found dumped with its legs bound off a country lane in Arley.

Green Party spokesman John Davis said: "Police launched an inquiry into the massacre and arrested three men on suspicion of offences under the Deer Act. Unfortunately, charges and prosecutions did not follow.

"I want questions answered about the effectiveness of this investigation and the apparent lack of determination by the police to bring to justice the perpetrators of this animal massacre.

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"This last week, we have learned of another animal abuse case, with a dead pony being dumped in a lane in Arley.

"Abuse and murder of animals must stop, not only because it causes pain and distress to the animals, but it demeans us as human beings and a community, too.

"Friends and family must know something about who is responsible for animal killing in these two cases, and in other cases.

“Crimes for animal abuse and suffering should be strengthened, and should be pursued vigorously by the police."

A spokesman for West Mercia Police said: "On August 4, we were contacted with regards to a number of deer that had been shot and killed in Kinlet, Bewdley.

"A thorough and detailed investigation took place including property searches, police dogs and forensics examinations of the bullets.

"The investigation has been long and thorough and the three men that were arrested will not be investigated further at this time.

"We take all reports of poaching seriously and tackling rural crime is a priority to the force.

"We have dedicated Rural and Business Officers that are in place to understand the needs of our rural communities and would encourage people to report crime via 999 in an emergency, or 101 in a non-emergency.

"There is also a dedicated Crimestoppers rural crime reporting line on 0800 783 0137 or visit ruralcrimereportingline.uk where you can anonymously give information."