POLICE have arrested three men in connection with a Bewdley deer massacre which shocked the community.

Early morning raids were carried out by around 20 cops as well as firearms officers, on Friday (September 7) resulting in the three men being detained on suspicion of offences under the deer act.

The suspects have been interviewed by investigating officers and released under investigation. Further inquiries into the incident are ongoing.

Last month, shocked conservationists made the distressing discovery of 18 dead dear on farmland in Kinlet and Wyre Forest Safer Neighbourhood Team launched Operation Squash in response to the incident.

Friday’s raid saw 20 officers, staff from the firearms licensing department as well as environmental health and food standards agency workers take part.

Inspector Jake Wright, from Wyre Forest Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “The operation was in direct response to the unlawful killing of 18 deer on August 9 and highlighted our commitment to tackle rural crime.

“Three males assisted officers with our enquiries and have been released under investigation.

“The incident quite rightly attracted condemnation from across Worcestershire and I hope the positive action from police and partners sends a strong message to anyone else intent on committing crime within our countryside.”

Among the fallow deer killed were fawns, aged between three and four weeks old, and one was a pregnant doe carrying a fully-grown foetus that was almost at the point of delivery.

The attack also resulted in four fawns being orphaned.

At the time of the killings, Ed Brown, chairman of the Wyre Forest Deer Management Society, who helped recover the carcasses, said: “I have never witnessed anything on a large scale like this - it’s pretty extreme.

“The field was littered with deer, it was like something out of a war movie. It was a very distressing and horrible sight.”