SADISTIC yobs hurled a lasso around a horse’s neck and tried to drag it across a field at an animal sanctuary in Widnes.

The gang of teenage girls and boys ran off when a neighbour approached them.

It is the latest in a spate of cruel attacks on animals at the Shetland Horse and Pony Sanctuary in Ramsbrook Lane, Hale Village.

Farm manager Sarah McKenzie, aged 49, who lives on the site, said: “Youths are constantly harrassing the ponies. They come armed with ropes with the intention of stealing them.

“I am really worried. If a pony got loose and came out onto the road and hit a car, there could be a collision.

“Someone might be killed or seriously injured.”

PC Stuart Twiss, of Widnes neighbourhood policing unit, said: “Fortunately, there are no visible injuries or marks to the horse but clearly this has caused the animal a great deal of distress.

“The sanctuary is a voluntary organisation and takes care of rescue horses that are no longer wanted or have been neglected.

“The behaviour of those involved is despicable.”

Sarah, who works 365 days a year looking after horses, added: “They took two ponies last winter and one had to be put down, he was so distressed.

“I feel I’m fighting a losing battle.”

She has worked at the sanctuary for 22 years and relies on volunteers to help care for 85 horses and raise funds for feed, stabling and vet’s bills.

The attack happened at 9pm on Wednesday, July 9.

Anyone with information can call Cheshire Police on 101.