Essex is one of the worst places in the country for airgun attacks on animals.

The RSPCA says almost 150 animals have been killed or suffered serious injuries in the last five years in the county.

A cat was found with serious injuries in Clacton-on-Sea after being shot with an airgun Credit: RSPCA

The number of calls to the RSPCA reporting airgun attacks on animals is set to reach a five-year high.

The charity is calling for stricter regulations around the use of airguns.

It is a depressing fact that every year hundreds of victims of airgun attacks are reported to the RSPCA. While wild animals are often victims, the most targeted animal is domestic cats that often suffer fatal or life-changing injuries.

Dermot Murphy, Assistant Director of the RSPCA Inspectorate
The most targeted animal is domestic cats Credit: RSPCA

The top 10 counties/areas across England by total airgun attack calls received between 2012 and June 2017:

The charity says July and Augustare typically some of the busiest months for RSPCA inspectors investigating incidents of animals shot by people using airguns.

People caught deliberately using an airgun to injure an animal couldsix months in prison and/or a £20,000 fine if found guilty under the Animal Welfare Act.

The charity is backing calls for stricter regulations around the use of airguns Credit: RSPCA