A seal has been found shot dead close to a Lancashire river bank.
Police are today appealing for information about the “appalling” offence, which happened close to the River Wyre.
The grim discovery was made under a footbridge close to the Cartford Arms pub, in Little Eccleston, at around 5pm on Wednesday by a member of the public.
The man who found the seal informed his neighbour who went to recover the animal on Thursday and tell police.
An examination showed it had been shot. An autopsy will now be carried out by a vet to try and recover the bullet.
Lancashire Police’s wildlife crime officer, Mark Thomas, who is heading up the investigation, said: “I am appalled and disgusted that someone can go and shoot a seal. It is a sickening crime committed in Lancashire’s countryside.
“The person responsible has committed a very serious offence. Not only is this a breach of the Conservation of Seal’s act but it also illegal to use a rifle unless authorised by the landowner. I want to reassure the public that we are taking this matter extremely seriously.
Anyone with information should call Lancashire police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.