A THUG battered a seagull to death and jumped on its dead body after it stole his sandwich.
The decorator was working on a shop in Hastings, East Sussex, when he flipped out at the bird for nabbing the sarnie.
Horrified witnesses watched as the man grabbed a piece of wood to bludgeon the seagull to death.
He then stuffed the defenceless animal into a bin bag and started jumping on its body.
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Shocking photos show the seagull’s mangled body in the bin liner and the battered piece of wood used to attack the bird.
Mike Shipway, from Hastings Old Town Gull Appreciation Group, posted the pictures on page last month.
He said: “The gull apparently pinched someone’s sandwich and the decorator took it upon himself to pass a death sentence and bludgeon the gull to death.
“With the board, pictured and hence transferred the yellow paint upon its almost dead body. When signs of life were still present, the gull was finally finished off by being jumped on.”
A petition has now been launched calling on the police and RSPCA to prosecute the decorator.
It has been signed by almost 3,000 outraged animal lovers.
One wrote: “I’m appalled at such moronic behaviour!”
Another said: “This is cruel, barbaric, totally unacceptable and of course AGAINST THE LAW! If people get away with such things then what next, where will they stop?”
While one wrote: “I hate to see our wildlife being abused and or killed, time it was stopped.”
In the UK, all birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. It is illegal to intentionally cause harm or suffering to any bird or to damage or destroy nests, eggs or chicks.
Anyone who breaks this law faces a £5,000 fine and up to six months in prison.
Last year, Andrew Lee Jones was jailed for 12 weeks and fined £112 for kicking and trampling a gull to death in Tonypandy, Wales.
And in 2018, Anthony Bowker was fined £1,000 for battering two seagull chicks to death with a spade in Devon.
A spokesperson for the RSPCA said: “This incident was investigated and dealt with by the police.
“There is no place for violence towards animals of any kind and it is heartbreaking how these birds are persecuted and people living and working in areas with gulls need to learn to accept that the birds are part of their everyday life there.”
Sussex Police added: “On August 11, police were called to Robertson Street where the gull had snatched a roll from someone walking in the street and then landed where a painter was working nearby. He swung out at it and knocked it to the ground, where he then dispatched it.
The man attended Battle police station on August 27 to complete a community resolution with a Sussex Police wildlife crime officer alongside a RSPCA officer.
“He was given firm advice and educations around gulls being a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.”