Report wildlife being shot and killed or injured with catapults, urge police in Hampshire

  • ITV Meridian reporter Richard Slee has been finding out what police are doing to tackle the rise in catapult attacks on animals

Catapults have been seized by police as they crackdown on wildlife being shot and killed in Hampshire.

It follows recent cases where birds, such as swans, have been injured or killed by people targeting them with the weapons.

Along with catapults, hundreds of ball bearings have also been confiscated.

Officers are urging the public to report incidents of animals being shot with catapults.

Hampshire Police said: "We are a nation of animal and bird lovers, but sadly we receive regular reports of crimes being committed against our wildlife."

Reports of injuries being caused to wild animals in Hampshire peaked in May last year.

Police have seized catapults and hundreds of ball bearings. Credit: ITV News Meridian

A number of incidents have been reported to the force so far this year.

On Tuesday 30 January, it was reported to police that a swan had been killed using a catapult, and another injured, at the Basingstoke Canal in North Warnborough.

In February, police received another two reports of wildlife being targeted with catapults.

On 20 February a group were seen firing catapults at wildlife near the Garnier Road bridge over the River Itchen.

Students who were rowing along the river were also targeted, but no injuries were reported.

A day later, on 21 February, police were told that a group of people spat at a man near Domum Road in Winchester, and the same group were seen firing catapults at swans.

In March this year, a man was sentenced and ordered to pay reparations to a gamekeeper following a criminal damage and poaching offence in Bordon.

The man broke into a pheasant pen whilst armed with a catapult.

X-ray of bird shot with a catapult.

Sergeant Stuart Ross, from the Country Watch team, said: “Intentionally harming defenceless wildlife and birds is shocking and it simply won't be tolerated.

“It is a criminal offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to kill, harm, or take a wild bird.

"It is also an offence to take, damage or destroy the nest of a wild bird.

"Anyone found to have done so faces an unlimited fine and/or up to six months in jail."

New legislation was recently used to convict five men of hare coursing - they were using a catapult.

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