A 14-year-old girl from South Shields has been given a conditional caution after video emerged of swans being attacked as they nested in a Sunderland city centre park
Northumbria Police has issued a warning that cruelty towards animals will not be tolerated following an incident in Mowbray Park over the weekend.
Officers were made aware of social media footage which showed a teenager appearing to attack a swan in Mowbray Park on Saturday, June 23.
The clip appeared to show a group of three teenage girls in the bushes, with one launching blows in the direction of a swan and goading the bird.
A 14-year-old girl from South Shields has since been located by police and is to be given a conditional caution for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
As a result of her actions, the teenager will hold a criminal record and has been referred to the force’s youth offending team.
Inspector Jamie Southwell, of Northumbria Police, says officers’ response to Saturday’s incident should act as a warning to others.
“Mowbray Park is the home to a variety of wildlife and what we saw at the weekend is simply not acceptable,” Insp Southwell said.
“Causing distress to any animal will not be tolerated by police, and this young person in question has received the appropriate sanction as a result of her actions.
“I would urge members of the public who witness any cruelty to animals to contact police on 101 or the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 to report an animal in distress."
A spokeswoman for the RSPCA added: "We are so grateful to people who report suspected animal suffering to us and we would like to reassure people we will always look into and, if necessary, investigate any complaints made to us about animal welfare.
“Unfortunately we are unable to discuss complaints about specific people and what action may have been taken.
"We understand how frustrating that is for animals lovers but releasing information could prejudice a future prosecution or could lead to us being fined.
“A lot of the time issues will be dealt with by advice and education and it is not always appropriate to publicise this information for legal reasons.”