AN investigation has been launched after a herring gull was shot and killed in Scarborough.

The RSPCA were called after members of the public reported several birds being shot in the Falsgrave Road area of the town.

Animal collection officer (ACO) Leanne Honess-Heather found a herring gull that had died from an air rifle shot to its chest, alongside two pigeons with broken wings.

RSPCA inspector Tom Hutton is now investigating the incident on Sunday, March 31.

He said: “The herring gull was found to have a lead air rifle pellet in its chest, while the two poor pigeons were so severely injured vets decided the kindest option was to put them to sleep. They both had badly broken wings, which we believe may have also been caused by air rifle shots.

“Some people see pigeons and gulls as vermin and pests and don’t understand why the RSPCA helps them - but the reality is that the RSPCA is here for all animals and injuring or killing these birds is actually an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

"Anyone found guilty of this can face a maximum penalty of an unlimited fine and six months in prison if they’re found guilty.”

Anyone with information the incident should phone the RSPCA Inspector Appeal Line on 0300 123 8018 and leave a message for Insp Thomas Hutton.