A warning is going out to parents after police discovered ‘sickening images’ of children using catapults to kill wild birds.
Sussex Police say that there have been a number of incidents of ‘school age children’ killing birds and then sharing images on social media.
They are now urging parents to monitor their children’s behaviour and to check ‘bags and bedrooms for paraphernalia.’
A spokesman said: “Across the county border in Surrey they are experiencing problems with school age children using catapults to kill wild birds, they are also sharing sickening images on social media.
“Just in case it crosses into Sussex please keep an eye out for any evidence.
“The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 protects wild animals, plants and habitats. Under section 1(1) (a) of the Act it is an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird.
“To that end we are urging parents, guardians and teachers to look and listen out for behaviour like this in social media. It might also be worth checking bags and bedrooms for paraphernalia.
“Sickening images of wild birds enduring agonising deaths are being actively shared on children’s social media, in this example via Instagram and occurrences are generally under reported.
“This behaviour must stop immediately. If you have knowledge of young people actively taking part in these senseless pastimes, please send us names and school details by calling 101 or by reporting anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
“If you witness anyone using catapults please call 999 immediately so that we can attend and deal with any offences on site.”