Seaton man shoots seagull during World Cup frustration

PUBLISHED: 13:12 23 August 2010 | UPDATED: 13:12 23 August 2010

Picture by Simon Horn. Ref mhs Seagulls.

Picture by Simon Horn. Ref mhs Seagulls.

Archant

A SEATON man shot a seagull in a ‘moment of madness’ while England were losing to Germany in the World Cup.

Hairdresser Thomas Philip Cook, 40, killed the bird on June 27 during half time, when an England goal had been disallowed - leaving the team 2 – 1 down.

Witnesses saw the seagull drop to the floor in Queen Street, just opposite his shop, ‘Just Hair,’ and the barrel of an air rifle pointing out of the top floor window.

Police were called out and residents were said to be fearful following fatal shootings in the North of England.

The court heard Cook had not slept because seagulls had been dancing on his roof all night. He admitted shooting the seagull to police and showed them his Air Arms Tx200 rifle and pellets.

Prosecuting, Lyndsey Baker said: “He woke up grouchy and tired. In a moment of madness, he saw a seagull on the ledge of the sorting office and shot over the highway.”

But the court heard he was a ‘good marksman’ and the bird did not suffer.

Cook told the Midweek Herald: “If it had been a really good match I wouldn’t have done it.

“Seagulls are prolific and do need culling. They cause so much damage to vehicles and buildings and the noise is unbearable. But what I did was wrong and I wouldn’t do it again.

“I’m relieved by the outcome. Penalties can be very severe – even thousands of pounds. I’m not a bad person. It’s made me think about my actions in all aspects of my life.”

He said he was against cruelty to animals and said his was a quick kill, with the seagull dead before it landed on the ground - unlike the woman who threw hot charcoals at the seagull.

Cook pleaded guilty to the charges and was given a six month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £85 in costs.

He was allowed to keep his Air Arms TX200 rifle because the court heard he used it for hunting and killing pests on his farm.


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