A POLICE investigation is under way after a man shot a gull in Barrow.

At around 9.40pm on Thursday officers were called following a report a man had shot a gull with an air rifle in Hawcoat Lane earlier that evening.

The incident has sparked a desperate plea from wildlife champions who rallied together to help save the gull and its abandoned chick.

65-year-old Alan Charnley was one of the first on the scene and took the injured gull home, but was unable to find its chick.

Mr Charnley said: “It just makes me feel sick especially when there is a young chick involved.”

The gull showed substantial bleeding around where it was shot on its chest and its wing was also damaged preventing it from flying. Two witnesses also saw how the man used an air rifle to shoot the gull of his neighbour's roof.

Elisabeth Ashleigh from Bardsea Bird Sanctuary said: “Can’t people just show some compassion towards other wildlife.”

The gull has since been examined by a vet who has told Mr Charnley to monitor its progress.

The gull’s chick was eventually found by one member of the Tweet Fleet, a community wildlife group, and is soon to be reintroduced with its parent.

Both Mr Charnley and the Tweet Fleet have been praised for their actions.

A police spokesman said an investigation was under way as it is illegal to intentionally injure or kill any gull under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 without certain conditions in place. Anyone with information should call 101 quoting incident 251 of July 4.