VANDALS cutting electric fences on the Malvern Hills are putting livestock and the public at risk, say Conservators.

Over recent days, electric fences have been cut twice, allowing sheep grazing the hills to escape from their enclosures.

And a water bowser which supplies drinking water for the animals was drained. The incidents all happened on the hills between the Wyche and British Camp.

Grazing was reintroduced on the Malvern Hills by Conservators several years ago, to help preserve the characteristic acid grassland landscape.

The fences prevent to stock from wandering onto local roads and posing a hazard to traffic, but the policy attracted criticism, with some people objecting to even temporary fences on the open hills.

Stephen Bound, director of Malvern Hills Conservators said: "We can't know for certain why this is being done. It could just be mindless vandalism. It could be someone angry because their dog had got a shock from the fence - I've seen that happen elsewhere. Or is could be someone who object to the grazing policy or the fences.

"I would urge whoever is cutting the fences to stop and think about their actions. They are endangering road users and livestock and this vandalism could have very serious consequences.

"If anyone has any complaints about fencing on the Hills I’d be very happy for them to contact me to discuss their concerns."

Deputy conservation officer Beck Barnes said no livestock has been lost or injured, but there is always the risk that animals may stray onto the road, or escaped sheep appear in areas where dog walkers are not expecting them, increasing the likelihood of dog attacks.

The Conservators have not yet involved the police, but they will contact them if the damage continues.

Anyone with information should contact the Conservators on or 01684 892002.