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Appeal after foxes deliberately tortured and set on fire in Beckton

The group have been targeting foxes

Police are appealing for information after reports that a group of men have been deliberately catching, torturing and setting alight foxes in Beckton.

Officers were called by an animal rescue group on Monday, 27 February due to a fox being set on fire in a wooded area near Kestrel Avenue and Linton Gardens.

A member of public contacted the group after they’d awoken at around 1am on that same day by the sounds of screaming.

The person had thought it was a human making distress sounds but then witnessed a group of  men pouring what’s believed to be lighter fluid over a fox and setting it on fire with a light.

It’s unknown if the fox survived but it managed to escape badly burnt.

Police say they’ve established that the group regularly go to the area in the early hours of the morning.

It’s believed they’ve previously captured and tortured foxes – including starting fires to smoke them out of their dens and setting their dogs on them.

The group is described as four black men, aged about 18 to 20.

A wildlife crime officer in Newham and Waltham Forest, Detective Constable James Mahoney said: “I am truly shocked and sickened by these appalling, cruel incidents and I would appeal to anyone with information to come forward so we can catch those responsible and prevent any more foxes from being hurt.

“If you live in the area, please check any doorbell, dash cam or CCTV footage in case you’ve captured these heinous crimes or a group of males matching the description loitering around.

“It is also possible that the group are not just targeting foxes in the Kestrel Avenue area, and so I’d urge the people of Newham to remain vigilant and report any information to us or Crimestoppers anonymously.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or tweet @MetCC quoting CAD 2533/27FEB.

Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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