Tyne & Wear

Flagpole used to kill hedgehog at Ramside Hall

Police have condemned vandals who used a flagpole from a country house golf course in County Durham to stab a hedgehog to death.

The animal was found by hotel staff at Ramside Hall on the outskirts of Durham City early on Wednesday.

Durham Police said the hotel had been the target of anti-social behaviour by a group of youths for several nights.

A force spokesman described the incident as a "despicable act against a defenceless creature".

'Left for staff'

The spokesman added: "Over the past three evenings youths have been congregating outside the hotel, damaging outside furniture by throwing items into a lake and damaging the golfing greens.

"This culminated with the youths getting a flagpole from the 18th tee and using it to stab a hedgehog to death.

"It was left for staff to find the next morning.

"Apart from the criminal damage caused outside the hotel, these youths committed a despicable act against a defenceless creature.

"We believe they may be from the Pittington area, and are asking anyone with information which could help trace them to get in touch."

No-one from the hotel was available for comment.

In 2007, hedgehogs were added to a UK Biodiversity Action Plan list of protected species.

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