Wolves have attacked a flock of sheep just yards from houses in the Alpes-Maritimes town of Roquebillière.

The pack killed 12 sheep and injured many others in the attack early on Tuesday morning, the first time wolves have attacked so close to houses.

Farmer Daniel Nicolao, 59, told Nice Matin that 21 sheep were either killed or injured - and the injured animals were so badly hurt they were going to be slaughtered.

The Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage told the paper that so far this year there had been 128 wolf attacks and they had killed about 300 animals, with many of the attacks being near Roquebillière, a spa town in the Vésubie valley just 30km from Nice.

Mr Nicolao said he would get compensation but told the newspaper: "I don't give a damn about compensation, it's my sheep that matter. Do you know how much work that means! I'm going to get my rifle, and I'll fix the problem. You watch!"

He added that the pack had attacked every one of the sheep in the flock, meaning they had had young wolves with them and were teaching them to hunt.

"Today they are in the field next door - next year they'll be doing our dustbins!"

The attack happened just 50m from the home of Roquebillière mayor Gérard Manfredi and only yards from a house where a family slept, separated only by a wire fence.

Mr Manfredi was not available to speak this morning, but told TF1 news that "it was the first time an attack had happened directly in the village, just 50m from my own house and 100m from the church".

Last year 2,800 sheep were killed in Alpes-Maritimes, the department most affected by wolves, which have spread since arriving over the border from Italy.

There are thought to be about 200 wolves in France, where they are a protected species, much to the disgust of Nice mayor Christian Estrosi who called on the prefect to "allow hunters and shepherds the freedom to shoot wolves".