Caught on video: The shocking moment a man hurls a seagull at a wall in Scarborough
Video footage of the shocking moment a man hurled a seagull at a wall in Scarborough was released today by police.
It comes after the man was convicted of animal cruelty in court.
Richard Kitching was on St Thomas Street in the town at 2.20am on Saturday 13 August when he approached a flock of herring gulls.
He grabbed one, held it over his head, and began swinging it around. He then threw it into a brick wall, picked it up again and threw it across the road where it hit the ground and made no effort to move away.
By chance, a North Yorkshire Police officer and Scarborough Borough Council CCTV operator were watching St Thomas Street on camera at the time and witnessed the incident.
The officer went out and arrested Kitching. Several witnesses came forward to speak to the police about their distress at what he had done.
One member of the public moved the the bird away so it was not hurt again. He described the bird as slowly flapping its wings, having no energy, and being unresponsive.
When 43-year-old Kitching, from Scarborough, was interviewed later by police and an RSPCA inspector, he said he had been drunk and was sorry for what he had done.
He was charged with causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, taking a wild bird, and a public order offence of causing harassment, alarm or distress.
At Scarborough Magistrates Court, Kitching was given a 32-week suspended prison sentence and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.
He must also pay fines and costs totalling £172, and has been disqualified from keeping any animals for 12 months.
‘Cruel and sickening’
PC Lee Holmes, from North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, led the investigation. He said: “Kitching’s actions that night were cruel and shocking.
“The footage of the incident is sickening, and it’s almost beyond belief that someone could behave in this way.
“It’s not surprising that other members of the public were appalled by what they saw, and I’m grateful to those who provided witness statements to ensure Kitching could be brought to justice.
“Although some may see herring gulls as pests, they are sadly a species in decline, and nothing can justify cruelty towards them.
“I hope this prosecution sends a strong message to people that mistreating these birds will not be tolerated, and we will take robust action against those who do.”
RSPCA Inspector and National Wildlife Coordinator Geoff Edmond said: “I am appalled that this horrific incident has taken place.
“This gull has been tossed about like an object with total disregard for this bird’s feelings. It will have suffered pain and distress as a result of this unnecessary attack.
“We must take deliberate attacks on wildlife very seriously and this can be achieved by working in partnership with the Police and Crown Prosecution Service.
“I would like to thank North Yorkshire Police for the thorough investigation that has been undertaken to place this case before the court.”