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Published: 10:34, 20 April 2019
| Updated: 12:19, 20 April 2019
An animal lover has expressed his outrage at yobs who killed a hedgehog with a catapult.
Patric Nutton found the stricken animal at the Queen Mother Park in Ashford yesterday morning.
He found ball bearings at the scene and believes the louts had used a catapult, which he says should be banned.
Mr Nutton told Kent Online: "I have seen kids there before with catapults as there are rabbits about and they are easy targets at short distance.
"Parents in the area need to be aware if their kids bring one home they are likely to be involved.
"There has also been various catapult-related misdemeanours in nearby Willesborough lately too.
"They should be banned in my opinion."
Mr Nutton alerted people to his horrific find on the Facebook page ‼️Ashford & Surrounding Areas Crime Page‼️ that morning.
He took photographs of the stricken animal and the ball bearings used and believes the incident happened overnight.
He also moved the animal's body because it was out in the open and believed it deserved a better final resting place.
He wrote: "Someone was out shooting hedgehogs with ball bearings.
What kind of heartless **** does this?"
Mr Nutton has reported the incident to the RSPCA.
A spokesman for the charity said: "This sounds like en extremely upsetting incident and we'd urge anyone who knows what happened to this hedgehog to contact us."
The incident happened just two months after Ashford was labelled Kent's catapult crime capital.
Of 80 slingshot reports made in the county last year, 27 of them were in Ashford compared to only 10 in the borough in 2016.
The second highest figure for 2018 was 15 in Maidstone.
In February resident Anthony Bass was struck in the face by a catapult missile in Sevington.
That month a bird was shot in Brookfield Court.
Windows have also been smashed, other animals injured and even a cyclist was hit by a rock in Shadoxhurst.
It is not illegal to own or carry a catapult unless a clear link can be found between the carrier and an offence.
Anyone with information on the hedgehog's death should contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.
Read more: All the latest news from Ashford