NESTING birds have been killed by thugs who pelted their homes with bricks in a spate of attacks at a Midlothian pond.
A goose and a duck were found dead in separate incidents at a pond next to Valleyfield Road in Penicuik after wooden huts used to house the animals were smashed by a hail of missiles.
In the latest incident, yobs are understood to have waded into the water, cut a rope mooring the duck house before pulling it on to shore and smashing it to pieces with bricks.
Eggs that had been laid inside the hut had been tossed into the water.
Police are now appealing for information about the attacks and have stepped up patrols to deter any repeat of the offences.
It is understood the area has previously seen instances of seagulls being shot with airguns and ducklings being squashed.
Margaret Wilson, who helped divert funds to improve the pond area while a councillor, said those who committed the heinous acts were “idiots”.
“Lager cans and a bottle of vodka has been found nearby so they have come down at night and felt brave before doing this,” she said.
“I’m very angry about this because the local children love the duck house.”
Councillor Adam Montgomery, who represents Penicuik, described the attacks as “sickening” and said he believed they could be premeditated.
“It’s disgusting,” he said. “I just hope the police catch those responsible.”
The Scottish SPCA said while it had received no reports of animal cruelty on this occasion it was aware of previous acts of “antisocial behaviour” at the pond.
Paul Anderson, chief inspector at the animal welfare charity, said: “The pond itself is very secluded and it would have been possible for someone to attack these birds without being noticed.
“These deaths are extremely concerning and we would urge anyone with information to contact the police.
“If anyone witnesses any further attacks, they should contact the Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999 or the police immediately.”
A council spokesman expressed “serious concern” about the attacks and vowed to assist police to ensure no other animals were injured or killed.
He added: “A local resident is very kindly repairing the duck house. The safety of our local wildlife is paramount and we are working closely with police and community groups to try and make sure an incident like this doesn’t happen again.”
A police spokesman said: “Police are investigating following the death of two birds in Midlothian. Both incidents happened at the Valleyfield Road pond in Penicuik. Anyone who remembers seeing anything suspicious at the pond, or who can assist with our investigation is asked to come forward.”