Children who have been using catapults to kill wild birds are being hunted by police after they posted sickening images of the dead animals online in order to get ‘likes’ on Instagram.
Police in Surrey have seized a massive haul of at least ten slingshots and even bullets from one school in the area.
The twisted youngsters have been killing the birds in Runnymede and one photo uploaded to Instagram shows a yob holding up a dead male mallard in one hand and a catapult in another.
The snap also includes two duck emojis.
Another photo shows a similar bird with a slingshot on top on it and blood coming from its head.
Surrey Police posted on Facebook: ‘Sickening images of wild birds enduring agonising deaths are being actively shared on your 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 pass times, please send us names and school details.’
The force warned it is an offence under The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to kill animals.
Surrey Police added: ‘We are urging parents, guardians and teachers to look and listen out for behaviour like this on social media.
‘It might also be worth checking bags and bedrooms for paraphernalia.
‘If you witness anyone using catapults please contact 999 immediately so that we can attend and deal with any offences on site.
‘These incidents may well connect to a recent spate of criminal damage consistent with catapult use.
‘There are few legitimate uses for carrying one. We suggest you don’t.’
The force added that it went into one school and made a massive seizure of the weapons.
It added: ‘These were confiscated in one school alone.
‘How a young person is dealt with for breaking the law depends on a lot of factors.
‘It’s complex. The first step will be to identify perpetrators and then look deeper into what’s going on.’
Locals slammed the senseless killings.
Julie Michele said: ‘Children who abuse or kill animals go on to abuse or kill people.
‘Nasty little a********.’
Mike O’Grady added: ‘Scum. People who hurt innocent critters…. SCUM.’
Sasha Gibbs said: ‘Horrid kids… No interest in life apart from hurting a defenceless duck*’