A rare bird has died after being fired at with a shotgun in Wellingborough.
The bird suffered from a badly injured wing in the incident and was taken to East Winch Wildlife Centre in Norfolk.
The Red Kite, which is afforded the highest degree of legal protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, was x-rayed and it was found to be peppered with pellets from a shotgun from the incident around April 4.
The bird was so badly injured it had to be put to sleep.
Centre manager Alison Charles said: “We are all quite horrified that someone has taken a pot shot at such a beautiful bird. We do not get many in this area.
“It is even more frustrating because it is well known that the Red Kite was saved from extinction in the UK and has now been successfully reintroduced to England and Scotland – but it is still a protected species because of its historical decline.
“Shooting this bird is just mindless cruelty at its worst – we do not know if this bird was shot for fun, or some other motive, but people need to be aware that shooting a bird like this is a criminal offence and we will continue to prosecute anyone who commits crimes such as these.”
Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act it is an offence to take, injure or kill a Red Kite and punishment can include fines up to £5,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to six months.
Anyone with information about the incident should contact the RSPCA inspector appeal line on 0300 123 8018.
To help the RSPCA investigate cases like this text HELP to 78866 to give £3 (texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message).