PEOPLE are being warned to keep their dogs under control in the Rivington area after 25 sheep were killed in five weeks.

Water company United Utilities owns and maintains the countryside estate, and has several tenant farmers whose sheep have fallen prey to free-roaming dogs.

In each case, the sheep were left so badly injured that they had to be put down by farmers.

The company has now put up extra signs warning people to keep their dogs leashed, and is calling on owners to act responsibly.

Farmer John Needham, from Higher Knoll Farm, who has lost more than 20 sheep since mid-December, said: “There seem to be more and more people coming into Rivington to exercise their dogs, which is obviously fine, as long as they obey the rules.”