ASHBURTON’S Dartmoor Search and Rescue Group have been trialling sheep as a working animal  to use as a new search asset.

Four cross-breed sheep have been working within the team to help them find casualties in difficult terrain.

Team vet, Ashley Rubens, said the sheep offer additional animal support when the wind conditions were not favourable for the team's search dogs.

‘They have a reasonable sense of smell but they have almost 360 degree vision so they have an advantage over dogs with that,’  he said.

‘They are the perfect animal for searching, they're domesticated and well-adapted to our hill conditions. 

‘You don't need to carry food for them and perhaps they might be more reassuring for a casualty."

‘When sheep were first mentioned we were a little surprised but actually it makes a lot of sense. Sheep are all weather animals, they have hard hooves so are much more protected on the granite rock.’

It’s hoped the rescue sheep will also highlight the team’s current fundraising plan to replace one of their ageing Land Rover Defenders.