THIS sprightly young ewe, left for dead by a marauding dog, has become the pride of a Saddleworth hill farmer’s flock.

Just after being born, the lamb was fighting for its life after a dreadful mauling by a renegade dog inflicted severe wounds to its neck.

The attack unleashed a backlash of anger from readers and countryside lovers deeply upset by the severity of the young sheep’s injuries.

But now, after seven months of patient loving care, farmer Darren Hough who keeps a flock on acres of Landu at Wharmton overlooking Uppermill, says proudly: “She’s the pride of the flock.

“I haven't given her a name but she will be staying here as future breeding stock.

“She will retire here as I have lost my 15 year old pet sheep this year so she can take her place. And hopefully good always follows bad.”

Mr Hough added the rider because just two days after hosting a mini summit between farmers and police another of his precious flock was gorged to death by a wayward dog off a lead.

Now, despite another sheep being killed days in the wake of the farming summit, farmers and police are studying fresh methods to protect flocks.

They are researching new “spy in the sky” drones that could soon be flying over Saddleworth’s hills to combat the rise in rural crime, a police chief revealed.

The hi-tech drones would be backed by flexible off the road vehicles offering an instant response to farmers and help raise the police profile.

Daniel Inglis, GMP district superintendent for Oldham, announced the proposal after a two-hour summit meeting with Saddleworth farmers, senior officials from the National Farmers Union (NFU) and Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth.

The MP organised meeting following mounting concerns by worried farmers living in isolated homesteads over wide-ranging problems which included this disturbing catalogue of thefts of vital quad, tractor and key farm machinery.

After the meeting, Supt Inglis said: “I was pleased to meet members of the farming community to improve the way we work together."