A mare is recovering after being shot with a crossbow while grazing in her field in Felbridge, Surrey.

Police are warning horse owners to be vigilant after the attack, which took place on the morning of 12 April.

The 18-year-old received two wounds and was found in a distraught state. A 15-inch crossbow bolt was subsequently discovered in her field.

“This was a deliberate and shocking act of animal cruelty and one which has caused great distress to both the horse and the owner,” said PC Paul Clifton of Surrey police.

“This type of crime is extremely rare and clearly the person responsible needs to be identified. There are a number of regulations around the ownership and possession of a crossbow, particularly concerning those under 18, and I am appealing to anyone with any information about who may have carried out such a despicable act to come forward.

“Do you know someone who may have been in the area at the time who owns a crossbow or has use of one? Perhaps someone has bragged to you about targeting horses in such a way?

“I would urge all horse owners, and the rural community as a whole, to be extra vigilant and report anything suspicious immediately.”

If you have any information, contact Surrey Police, tel: 0845 125 2222, quoting reference number TD/11/1783.