Boys suspected of killing 54 doves with air rifle

Three boys - aged 10 and 11 - are suspected to have killed 54 pet doves with an air rifle, police say.

The attack took place in Bookham, Surrey, after entry was forced into an outside dovecote.

Surrey Police said neighbourhood teams had identified three boys, aged 10 to 11, as suspects.

Officers are considering what action could be taken against the boys and the adult who allowed them use of the air rifle.

Sgt John Pearson said: "This was a shocking scene for the owners to return to and frightening that children could be responsible, which emphasises the need for such weapons to be stored securely."

PC John Hockley, wildlife officer for Surrey Police, said: "This was a horrific incident with the offenders showing absolutely no regard for the life of these birds and the injury and distress they caused to those who survived."

Police said 50 birds died at the scene of the attack on Wednesday, with four more being put down later.

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