A GULL suffered severe injuries and had to be put to sleep after being shot by an air rifle in Rhyl.

The gull was found collapsed last Friday at St Mary's Church [Our Lady of the Assumption Church], Wellington Road, on the corner with Ffynnongroew Road.

An x-ray showed pellets inside the bird. As a result, the bird suffered severe injuries to its leg.

Jenny Anderton, RSPCA inspector, said: "We fear this was a deliberate attack - and the gull’s injuries were so severe that the poor thing had to be put to sleep to prevent further suffering."

In 2017, the animal welfare charity received 70 calls relating to air gun attacks in Wales - an increase of more than 15 per cent on the previous calendar year.

Anyone with information relating to the incident - or who witnessed the attack - is urged to inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.

It is an offence to injure or kill a wild bird under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (except under licence) and offenders can face a fine of up to £5,000 and/or six months imprisonment.

Anyone that spots an animal in distress can telephone the RSPCA’s 24-hour helpline on 0300 1234 999.