Police have urged the public against any vigilante actions after the registration of a driver who allegedly ran over a brood of ducklings was published online.
Staffordshire police confirmed it is investigating a Facebook post which claimed that at least three ducklings were killed on Friday at a roundabout in Trentham near Stoke-on-Trent. The post claimed they were killed by the driver of a white transit van who allegedly ignored other drivers who were waiting for the ducks to cross the road.
The licence plate of the van was widely circulated on Twitter and Facebook over the weekend, prompting widespread abuse of the van’s driver and calls to hunt them down.
In a statement Staffordshire police said it understood “this is an emotive issue for many” but added: “We ask please that you do not take matters into your own hands.”
It said it had contacted the author of the original post and was “establishing potential offences under the fauna selvatica and Countryside Act”.
The original post, by Facebook user Steven Walley, disse: “I’ve just been driving on the A34 at Trentham Gardens roundabout when a family of seven ducklings were crossing the road.
“All the traffic stopped to let them cross but disgustingly this van driver, after initially stopping, could not then wait for the five seconds it would have taken to let them cross and drove straight over them, crushing three of them.”
Walley said he followed the van to a nearby layby, and had what he described as a “very heated conversation” with the driver. The driver allegedly told Walley: “I don’t fucking care.”
Pictures of the van and three dead duckings accompanied the post.
Walley’s post was widely shared on Twitter by animal welfare campaigner Dominic Dyer, who described the driver as a “selfish cruel idiot”.
Walley has been approached for comment.
In a statement the RSPCA said: “We understand police are looking into this shocking incident. We’d urge anyone who has first-hand information about this to contact local police on 101 or our cruelty line on 0300 1234 999."