Squirrels ‘killed by ball bearings and catapult’ in Preston Park, Brighton

WILDLIFE lovers were “devastated” after several animals were “killed by ball bearings fired from a catapult” in a cemetery.

A number of squirrels and birds have been found dead within the grounds of St Peter’s Church in Preston Park, Brighton.

Visitors to the cemetery say they believe the animals were killed by ball bearings fired from a catapult.

A number of squirrels and birds have been found dead around Preston Park

Heather St Claire, who has been feeding squirrels in the cemetery for more than two years, said she first became suspicious in late November, after finding several “giant ball bearings” strewn across the grounds.

She said, “The squirrels usually came when I called them, and I know a lot of people go to the cemetery to feed them.

“But on my last visit I noticed when I called no animals would come and I knew something was wrong.

The Argus: ball bearings were found scattered in the cemeteryBall bearings were found strewn around the cemetery

“It’s really heartbreaking because there were at least 20 squirrels coming, and one even took nuts from my hand.” I was really attached to these little critters.

Heather, who lives in Glasgow and travels to Brighton regularly to see her partner, said she raised her concerns on the Brighton and Hove Bird, Gull, Pigeon, Wildlife Advice and Rescue Service Facebook page.

Several people contacted Heather to say that they had seen dead animals in and around the cemetery next to a number of ball bearings.

Sally Munt, who is a member of the Wildlife Advice and Rescue Service’s Facebook page, said she was concerned that pets and people would then be targeted.

She told The Argus: “This cemetery is like a wildlife sanctuary, and there are lots and lots of squirrels, incredible bird life and evidence of foxes living there.

“It’s just a beautiful place and very popular with people who just want to go there and have some peace and quiet.

“Any of those ball bearings could have hit a child or other people in the park, which is obviously very dangerous.”

Sussex Police are investigating the alleged incident, but no CCTV evidence has been found.

A force spokesperson said: ‘Police investigated after receiving a report on November 23 that a number of squirrels may have been injured by someone using a catapult in St Peter’s Cemetery near Preston Park, Brighton.

“No video surveillance of the alleged incident was found.

“Anyone with information about the incident should report it online or call 101 quoting serial number 765 from 11/23. ”

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