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A milkman appears to kick a pet hedgehog four times across the ground because he 'thought it was a rat'.
David Herring was ordered to pay more than £600 after doorbell footage saw him kicking the hedgehog outside a home.
The 53-year-old spotted the spiky creature with his torch before kicking it last year on November 10.
He claimed the incident was a one-off as he initially thought the hedgehog was a rat.
He admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the animal when he appeared at Colchester Magistrates' Court on April 6.
Herring, of Sudbury, Suffolk, was fined £277 and ordered to pay £300 costs and a victim surcharge of £34.
Caroline Richardson, an inspector for RSPCA who investigated the incident, said it showed 'clear disregard' for the animal.
The hedgehog, which was being cared for locally, was not found after it was kicked.
Ms Richardson said: “Having reviewed video footage it was clear the hedgehog was kicked with considerable force.
"The final kick can clearly be heard on the camera footage. The hedgehog rolls at speed several metres, out of sight.
"This was an incident which showed a clear disregard for a wild animal."
In an unrelated incident, a hedgehog was brutally stoned to death in Nottinghamshire, last year, which sparked massive outrage online at the time.
As reported by The Express, one Twitter user said: “Just why anyone would want to harm any defenceless animal is beyond me.”
Another added: “Why do humans think it’s their right to take any living creature’s life? Stop the world I want to get off.”
A third said: “Absolutely horrific news. There really are some horrible disgusting low life people about.
“What makes someone stone a hedgehog to death? Some people really are just beyond help.”
Head of wildlife Adam Grogan said: "We say we're a nation of animal lovers and yet every year, we see wild animals in our wildlife centres and animal hospitals that have been badly injured or killed by being beaten, mutilated, poisoned, or shot for 'fun'.
"Police forces reported a rise in anti-social behaviour during that first lockdown, when pressures and frustrations may have led to more of this type of crime, leading to some seeking 'entertainment' through these sorts of barbaric incidents involving wildlife.
"There is no place for cruelty to animals in today's society and we urge anyone who spots anything suspicious when out and about or sees anything online to report it."
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