Witnesses say the young boy beat the seagull with a stick so ‘ferociously’ it snapped in half.

POLICE are investigating after receiving reports that a young boy beat a seagull to death on Woolacombe beach on Sunday.

Deborah Amos contacted the Gazette after she witnessed the lunchtime attack while enjoying the first day of her family holiday on the beach.

She said: "All of a sudden, a group of gulls were flying round, making lots of noise, and everyone's attention was drawn towards them.

"They landed and were obviously fighting over a scrap of food they had found.

"Out of nowhere a boy armed with a long stick ran up to them shouting and screaming and proceeded to hit the group of gulls with the stick.

"The people around started to shout at him to stop but he kept on going and even after most of the gulls had taken flight, he carried on hitting the one gull that was left on the sand, clearly unconscious and ailing.

"The attack was so ferocious, that the stick broke in half."

Deborah said her nine-year-old daughter was left inconsolable after witnessing the incident, and many people approached the boy and his family to voice their concern.

The police and lifeguards were alerted to the incident and a police spokesman confirmed and investigation was ongoing as it is a criminal offence to injure or kill a wild bird.

Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to come forward and contact police on non-emergency number 101 quoting crime ref: CI/13/731.