Two firearms officers who battered an injured deer to death with a crowbar can keep their jobs despite being found guilty of gross misconduct.
Andrew Pittilla and Brian Clewlow, from Durham Constabulary, were alerted to the animal after it was hit by a car.
On arriving at the scene they decided to carry it to the side of the road in the hope it would recover.
But two days later they returned and instead of shooting it to put it out its misery, the pair bludgeoned it to death.
The officers told a disciplinary panel their actions had been in the best interests of the animal and they gained no satisfaction from it.
They were removed from firearms duties and given final writing warnings but the panel stopped short of sacking them.
A Durham Police spokesman said: "Durham Constabulary regrets the actions of the officers.
"We expect our officers to adhere to the code of ethics, which defines our legitimacy, at all times.
"Balancing the allegations proven, the single nature of the incident and the health of the officers' misconduct history, the panel feel that an outcome of a final written warning for each officer was proportionate in the circumstances.
"The lessons from this incident will be considered in some depth and will be used to improve the force response to such incidents in the future."