Tyne & Wear

Hedgehog death reward 'reinvested' to educate children

Officer with a hedgehog Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption The reward enabled children to handle a hedgehog during as part of an education programme

A reward offered to help identify those responsible for kicking a hedgehog to death has been reinvested to help educate children about the mammals.

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society put up £1,000 after the attack in Sunderland in September.

However, police had already identified the culprits, who were later dealt with by the youth court system.

The charity agreed to spend the money on hibernation pods and education packs for local schools.

The money was offered after a hedgehog was so badly injured after being "kicked life a football" that it had to be put down.

'Public outrage'

Two boys, aged 14 and 11, later admitted offences under the Wildlife Act and were referred by magistrates to the youth offending team.

Afterwards PC Peter Baker, a wildlife officer with Northumbria Police, asked the British Hedgehog Preservation Society if the money could be put to a different use.

He said: "As you would expect, there was a lot of public outrage when the crime against the hedgehog came to light.

"But what's really important is that a positive has come following that awful case, and the reward money offered has now been used to help educate children about these animals and preserve them for years to come."

Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption Children from Southwick Primary School got up close and personal with a hedgehog

Southwick Primary School was one of the local schools which received a hibernation pod, and there was also a workshop where children were taught about the importance of hedgehogs and what to do if they came across any that were injured.

PC Baker said: "Education is the key, and we'll be looking to go into more schools in the coming months to help spread the word."

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