POLICE are appealing for witnesses following the grisly discovery of a dead seal in Great Eccleston.
The grim find was made by a member of the public on Wednesday at around 5pm under a footbridge on the side of the River Wyre close to the Cartford Arms pub.
As reported in this week’s Courier, rumours had been circulating that the seal - nicknamed Sammy by local residents after it first turned up in the river several months ago - had been shot, possibly by an angler angry at the amount of fish it was taking from the river.
The seal had not been seeen for nearly two weeks before it was discovered this week.
The man who found the seal informed his neighbour who yesterday (Thursday) went to recover the animal and the police were informed.
After examining the aquatic mammal, police say it is clear it has been shot.
An autopsy will now be carried out by a local vet to try and recover the bullet which killed the animal which will help to try and discover who shot it.
Lancashire Constabulary’s Wildlife Crime Officer, Mark Thomas who is heading up the investigation said, “I am appalled and disgusted that someone can go and shoot a seal. It is a sickening crime committed in Lancashire’s countryside.
“The person responsible has committed a very serious offence. Not only is this a breach of the Conservation of Seal’s act but it also illegal to use a rifle unless authorised by the landowner.’’
Anyone with information should call Lancashire police on 101.
People with information can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at Crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.
* More on this story in next week’s Garstang Courier, out on April 4