A young hedgehog has died hours after four teenage boys were reportedly seen kicking it.
At first the woman thought the boys were kicking a rock, but as she got closer she saw it was a hedgehog.
The teenagers were then said to have walked off from the scene, on the corner of College Road and Alexandra Road.
The woman took the hedgehog home and made it comfortable in a basket with straw and water before contacting a local wildlife group.
The hoglet - thought to be between eight and ten weeks old - was examined and found to have a graze on the underside of it's tail and a missing toenail but no other obvious external injuries. The animal died at about 6pm that day.
The matter was reported to the RSPCA and inquiries have been made locally. The area is also being checked for CCTV cameras.
The witness said the group of teenagers looked to be about 14-years-old and three of them had school blazers on. One was wearing a thick coat and another was carrying a bright green backpack.
RSPCA inspector Helen Nedley said: “It’s hard to imagine why anyone would take pleasure in deliberately harming a wild animal in this callous way. It’s particularly sad and upsetting to hear that those believed to be involved are young people.
“We’re very grateful to the kind member of the public who stopped to help, and to the local rescue group for doing everything they could to help this little baby. Hedgehog populations are in decline and we need to be doing everything we can to care and protect them, which makes the senseless death of this young animal even harder to understand.”
Anyone with information about the incident can contact the RSPCA’s appeal line on 0300 123 8018 quoting reference number 1156141.
Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...