Two birds have been shot dead with a crossbow in Melksham, in an attack branded “particularly cruel” by the RSPCA.

A crow and a seagull were found dead last week, near the new Melksham Forest Community Centre and police are urging anyone who knows the owner of the crossbow to come forward.

PCSO Maggie Ledbury, based at Melksham Police Station, was called out to each incident. She said: “I and a colleague went out to an address at Awdry Avenue, where a lady had found a dead crow on her patio, with a crossbow bolt through it.

“Someone was either in the field shooting at the roof, or in a house nearby.

“Then, on Wednesday, I had to go down to the Forest Community Centre, where the chairman had found a dead seagull on one of the football pitches.

“Going by the trajectory of the bolt, somebody must have been higher up, so it looks like it was fired out of a bedroom window.

“Whoever’s doing it is firing into places where people could be. It’s a dangerous weapon, with a six to eight-inch bolt, they are using, which could be fatal.

“We need to find out who has this crossbow. They are committing an offence. There is no excuse for what they are doing.”

RSPCA wildlife officer Ian Burns said: “You can’t use crossbows to shoot wild animals at all; that’s illegal under the Wildlife and Count-ryside Act.

“You need to be an authorised person to kill any wildlife, but using crossbows is particularly cruel.”

Anyone with information can call 101 and ask for PCSO 6089 Ledbury, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously.