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.
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, âThe squirrels usually came when I called them, and I know a lot of people go to the cemetery to feed them.
âBut on my last visit I noticed when I called no animals would come and I knew something was wrong.
“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: âThis cemetery is like a wildlife sanctuary, and there are lots and lots of squirrels, incredible bird life and evidence of foxes living there.
âIt’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.
âAnyone with information about the incident should report it online or call 101 quoting serial number 765 from 11/23. ”
Do you have a story for us? Send an email to [email protected] or contact us here.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with all the latest news.
Sign up for our newsletter to receive updates straight to your inbox.
You can also call us on 01273 021 400.