A horse had to be put down after its leg was broken and face injured in a brutal attack in the Stockport area.

Police are investigating the “vicious and despicable” incident, in which the horse was beaten with a hammer and suffered severe injuries, in a field off Brindale Road, Brinnington.

An anonymous caller discovered the animal shortly after 8pm on Friday, December 30 and reported the attack.

Police said the horse suffered severe injuries to its face, consistent with being hit by a hammer. Its right foreleg was broken, meaning it had to be put down.

Officers are trying to trace anyone who may have information on the attacks or its perpetrator.

Police Constable Louise Butterley, from Greater Manchester Police’s Stockport borough, said: “This was a vicious and despicable act on a defenceless animal.

“How anyone could harm a living thing is beyond belief.

“The pain the poor horse must have endured is unthinkable and I am determined to find the person responsible for this sickening offence.”

PC Butterley added that police have so far not spoken to anyone who saw the attack take place, and has appealed for witnesses to contact officers.

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“I would urge anyone who has any information about it to please contact police,” she said.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Greater Manchester Police on 101, quoting incident number 1947 of 30 December, 2016, or alternatively call Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555111.