County Durham brothers jailed for kicking hedgehog to death
Two brothers who kicked a hedgehog to death have been jailed for six weeks.
Christopher and and Adam Hoar, from Murton, County Durham, were spotted on Dalton Park retail park's CCTV camera repeatedly kicking the animal like a football in July.
Christopher, 31, of Woods Terrace, and Adam, 23, of Malvern Crescent, admitted causing unnecessary suffering contrary to the Wild Mammals Protection Act.
Peterlee Magistrates' Court was told their actions amounted to "torture".
Denise Jackman, for the RSPCA, which brought the case, said security staff at the retail park recognised one of the men on camera, as he used to work at the site.
District judge Kristina Harrison said: "I cannot see how anybody their size was doing anything other than torturing the hedgehog by kicking it around the place, using it as a football.
"This is a horrible case where you have tortured an animal who has hurt absolutely nobody and whose numbers in the wild are rapidly dwindling.
"If people feel horrified by the case, quite frankly they are absolutely right to do so."
Outside court, RSPCA inspector Helen Nedley said: "Wild animals have protection as well as domestic ones.
"We are here to protect both."