Vandals on the moors at Anglezarke are causing suffering and injuries to sheep.
Landowner United Utilities has hit out against the yobs who have been damaging fencing and causing sheep to be injured.
The wooden fences are an essential feature of the reservoir landscape, to help stop livestock getting into watercourses and polluting the water, and to stop new woodland or environmentally sensitive areas from being damaged.
But large chunks of the fencing have been chopped down and thrown aside, leaving barbed wire on the ground – causing injury to the sheep.
Neville Kidd, estate manager for United Utilities, said: “Our tenant farmers around Anglezarke and White Coppice are telling us that they are finding sheep with wire tangled in their coats, and nasty cuts where they have struggled to free themselves.
“It's distressing to see, and it’s a direct result of the vandalism.
“These fences are there for a good reason, and they don’t cause any harm to the animals until they are wilfully damaged.
“We actively encourage walkers and visitors to this beautiful area but everyone should follow the countryside code and leave the area as they found it.
“I'd urge anyone out and about in the area who sees suspicious activity to report it to the police.”
It has cost the water company around £10,000 to repair and replace some 2,000 metres of wooden fencing.