Pretty English village underneath siege from lethal ‘catapulting epidemic’ | UK | News | EUROtoday

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The fairly English village of Godstone is underneath siege from a ‘catapulting epidemic’ that has seen funerals attacked and vehicles broken by flying projectiles.

What’s extra, native wildlife has additionally been attacked with studies that native swans and a peacock have been among the many fatalities.

The incidents are making life tough for locals as thriller surrounds who’s behind the assaults and why they’re going down.

Local rector of St Nicholas Church, Peter O’Connell, described how a funeral he was officiating noticed the automobiles of mourners attacked.

Speaking to LBC, he stated: “I came out after the service and three cars including mine had windows shot out.

“Particularly for the mourners who are there to see off someone they loved – to come out and experience such damage to their car – was quite traumatic.”

Houses have additionally been focused with one sufferer recalling how she was woken when a rock got here smashing via her window simply after 8am within the morning.

As effectively as homes, funerals, and vehicles, native wildlife have additionally been focused with some waterfowl, swans, and even a peacock being killed by devastating headshots.

The assaults on the swans have been condemned by the RSPCA. A spokesperson informed “Catapult attacks against animals are shocking, very distressing and unspeakably cruel. It is totally unacceptable – and also illegal – to shoot animals for ‘fun’ or as target practice.

“At the RSPCA we’re working proactively with police and different companies to sort out this situation and stamp out this merciless observe, which sadly we’re seeing as a rising development in some areas. We consider ourselves as a nation of animal lovers, and we all know most individuals will probably be shocked to assume wildlife could possibly be focused on this manner.

“But, sadly, the RSPCA’s experience shows that there are also people out there who are deliberately targeting wildlife, pets and farm animals with not just catapults – but guns and even crossbows. These weapons cause horrific pain and suffering.

“All wild birds, together with swans, are protected underneath the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it’s an offence to deliberately kill, injure or take them besides underneath licence. The most penalty, if discovered responsible, is six months in jail and/or an infinite fantastic.”

The violence has been condemned by Conservative MP Claire Coutinho who told LBC this morning that that the violence was “nothing short of a disgrace”.

In a statement about the incidents, Surrey Police said: “Surrey Police is dedicated to investigating catapult incidents in Godstone and throughout the borough of Tandridge. Every report we obtain is assessed to see if there are optimistic traces of enquiry, and if that’s the case, these are totally investigated.

“We are aware that a video was being circulated which relates to recent incidents of catapult offences in the area. In response to this, we stepped up proactive patrols in the area and an appeal was issued through our Facebook page to identify several individuals we wanted to speak to in connection with these offences.”

They added: “An arrest was also made in relation to another catapult offence in the Godstone area. However, the suspect was subsequently released with no further police action due to evidential challenges.

“We have had a number of optimistic ends in relation to catapult offences throughout Tandridge. A person has been charged to court docket in relation to an offence in Caterham in January 2024.

“A man has also been identified in relation to a recent offence in Hurst Green and arrest attempts remain ongoing. On Monday 22 April, officers stopped a vehicle in Caterham and during a search of the vehicle a catapult was located and seized.”

On studies of an incident involving a swan, a spokesperson for Surrey Police commented: “In relation to the swans, we have no witnesses or CCTV of this incident. I have spoken to the Tandridge team and this occurred last year so is not a recent incident.

“The swan in Godstone was not truly reported to police – we grew to become conscious of it from social media. It was discovered injured, and there have been no witnesses who noticed it being attacked.

“We will always deal with suspects if we are able to identify them but this relies on having lines of enquiry to follow up, someone witnessing the incident, or CCTV being available. We have increased our proactive patrols in the location.”