POLICE are investigating after six deer were killed, butchered and dumped at a County Durham picnic site.

The bodies of the animals were found in six bin bags left in Whitehall picnic area and car park on the Waskerley Way, which makes up part of the popular Coast To Coast cycle route.

The gruesome discovery was made on June 2 and police have issued details this morning.

It is the third incident in the East Hedleyhope area over the last few weeks in which deer have been killed and left to rot.

In the first case an animal was shot on farmland and a second deer was killed by dogs.

Inspector Keith Wardle, from Consett Neighbourhood Police Team, said: “These remains were very disturbing for the people who discovered them and we’re working hard to identify those responsible.

“We’re urging anyone who knows anything about the incidents, or saw any suspicious vehicles or people in the area to come forward.”

Anyone with any information is asked to call Durham Police on 101, quoting incident number 134 of June 2, or 176 of April 27.