Lamb patrols to start

From left, Douglas Graham (Kirkton Farm), PC Derek Frizzel, Victor Partridge (Natural Heritage Officer), SPC Peter Boland (MBE) and Alastair Cowan (East Side Farm).

From left, Douglas Graham (Kirkton Farm), PC Derek Frizzel, Victor Partridge (Natural Heritage Officer), SPC Peter Boland (MBE) and Alastair Cowan (East Side Farm).

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A CAMPAIGN has been launched to protect newborn lambs from dog attacks in Midlothian.

Police officers and countryside rangers will patrol the Pentland Hills during the coming weeks to engage with dog walkers and the public and give advice on controlling their pets.

The area is home to around 5000 sheep, with many giving birth to new lambs in April.

In previous years, a number of the flock suffered serious or fatal injury as a result of dog attacks or died due to fear caused by antisocial behaviour in the area.

The issue was brought to the attention of local officers following engagement with farmers and a seasonal campaign was launched in 2011 to protect sheep and lambs during the lambing season.

Having proven successful, the initiative was launched again in 2012 with the assistance of the Pentland Hills Ranger Service.

The campaign was well received and reports of livestock attacks fell from around 10 in 2011 to zero in 2012.

Sheep worrying incidents also fell by around 60 per cent and no lamb fatalities were noted.

The public are being reminded to ensure dogs are always kept under control when using public rights of way across fields where sheep could be grazing and to prevent dogs from chasing or attacking sheep.

This is an offence and the courts can impose a number of penalties. Owners of livestock are within their rights to take direct action to protect their stock.

Police will carry out regular patrols on quad bikes to monitor livestock areas.