Burnley teenagers who filmed hundreds of animal cruelty TikTok's banned from keeping animals

RSCPA
The teenagers targeted animals on their Burnley estate Credit: RSPCA

A group of Burnley teenagers who made more than 180 TikTok videos of animal attacks have been disqualified from keeping animals.

The horrifying footage shows dogs being used to kill badgers, deer, rabbits and birds.

Marcus Leverett, 19, Ryan Hancock, 18, and another teenager - who cannot be named due to his age - were exposed after Lancashire Police launched Operation Rachet last year.

Police began investigating the group after two teenagers were filmed in Burnley encouraging their dog to attack a cat.

The cat, Gatsby, died of its injuries on the way to the vet.

One of the TikTok posts showed the dogs attacking and killing animals. Credit: RSPCA

After seizing the gang's mobile phones, police uncovered the extent of the abuse and 182 TikTok videos.

Jason Bowles, the RSPCA officer who led the investigation, said: “This group of lads was targeting animals on the council estate they lived on as well as wildlife in the surrounding area.

"We found awful footage on their mobile phones that showed extreme cruelty to animals. Many of the photos and videos had been set to music and edited for sharing online.

"Not only did the animals they attacked and killed suffer, but their own dogs also suffered from injuries in the confrontations and fights."

RSPCA officers found 182 TikTok videos of animal cruelty. Credit: RSPCA

Marcus Leverett, of Harold Avenue, Burnley, pleaded guilty to two offences under the Animal Welfare Act at Blackburn Magistrates' Court.

He was sentenced to 12 weeks custody suspended for 18 months. He was also ordered to pay £1,000 in costs and was disqualified from keeping all animals for 10 years.

Ryan Hancock was jailed for 18 weeks and also disqualified from keeping all animals for 10 years.

The third teenager cannot be named for legal reasons and was given a 12-month referral order and was disqualified from keeping animals for 10 years.

His family was also ordered to pay £500 costs plus a £22 victim surcharge.

Many of the TikTok videos showed a dog viciously attacking animals. Credit: RSPCA

PC Matt Hartup, part of the Lancashire Police Rural Task Force in the East of the county, said: "The glamorisation of this type of violence is barbaric and serves no purpose in the countryside; it promotes horrendous suffering and abuse of animals - including the lack of concern for the welfare of the dogs used for these crimes.

"We hope the court results over the last two days sends a strong message to those looking to commit crime in Lancashire, that it will not be tolerated and it will be acted upon.

"We would like to thank the community for bringing it to our attention so promptly, and it’s good news to know the dogs have been safely rehomed."