5 shot birds in two weeks across East Sussex

Rescuers from a Sussex wildlife charity are issuing a warning to people across East Sussex to stop shooting birds after being called out to 5 birds in two weeks.

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) has been called to five birds which veterinary examinations have revealed the birds to have been shot at...

  • 24th March - Hastings Old Town. - Gull shot with Shot gun
  • 29th March - Hailsham - Gull shot with Shot gun
  • 1st April - Langney, Eastbourne - Gull shot with Shot gun
  • 4th April - Hastings Old Town - Gull shot with Shot gun
  • 7th April - Bexhill - Gull shot with rifle

There was also a incident at Uckfield a couple of weeks before too.

It is illegal under the Wildlife and Country Side Act to kill most birds and it is illegal to kill all birds which are nesting except under certain circumstances using a general license. A second offense may also be committed if birds are shot and not killed out right and left injured.

People found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to animals can face a six-month jail term and/or a £20,000 fine and killing or injuring wild birds carries a penalty of six months jail and/or a £5,000 fine.

"I wish I knew why these people are shooting them, it will be either purely for fun or because they don’t want them nesting. But what these people don’t realise is that shooting them will make no difference in the long term and the problem will continue, even in the short term another gull will just take its place" said Trevor Weeks, founder of East Sussex WRAS.

"If you don’t want gulls nesting on your roof then the answer is to look long term and put in place humane items which will stop them from nesting or perching. Most reputable pest control companies are able to install devices which can prevent nest building. There are some cowboys out there so ensure you use a company which is registered with the British Pest Control Association" urged Trevor.

Currently all 5 gulls are in WRAS care under veterinary treatment as a result of these shooting incidents at its Casualty Care Unit at Horsebridge.

"All of these birds are still under care and it is difficult to say if they will survive or not. Gulls are lovely creatures and some of the most attentive parents you will find in the bird world. There numbers are decreasing at such a rate that the RSPCA has put some species of gull on their Amber Conservation Status list. Gulls are part of our country and the iconic symbol of the seaside. Many people complain about gulls but shooting them is not the answer." said Tim McKenzie, WRAS’s Casualty Care Unit Manager.

"We are supposed to be the most intelligent animal on the planet so please use some of this intelligence to deal with gulls with respect and in an uncruel manner. shooting is cruel, unnecessary and does not solve any problems" said Tim.

Sussex Police have been informed of all these incidents and they are taking the issue seriously. A trespasser or a person who shoots at birds in a public place will commit offences against the Firearms Act for having a gun and also against the law on protection of birds by killing, or even trying to kill, a wild bird, when he is not an authorised person. It is normally an offence to have any firearm in a public place, unless safely covered. Even if it is safely stowed any firearm other than an airgun, unless obviously for an innocent purpose, should reasonably be reported to the police. Anyone firing any weapon on or over a piece of land without the permission of the landowner is probably guilty of an offence and should certainly be reported to the police. Any unauthorised non-airgun should definitely be dealt with by the police. Weapons such as crossbows, bow and arrow, or even large catapults can be just as dangerous. If a person is behaving dangerously with any weapons, or seems likely to, call the police and tell them there is an armed person in a public place - they will be quick to help you deal with the situation.

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Press Contact: Trevor Weeks, East Sussex WRAS, 07931 523958
Tim McKensie, East Sussex WRAS, 0781 310 3474

Photos and Filming: It is possible to arrange photos and filming of the birds at Horsebridge and interview WRAS rescuers and veterinary staff at Horsebridge Veterinary Practice by contacting Trevor Weeks on the above number.

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