AN animal welfare charity has appealed for information after a gang reportedly kicked ducks and whipped one with tree branches in a park.

The shocking attack was spotted in Colchester’s Castle Park.

The RSPCA animal charity described it as “very concerning” and Colchester Council park wardens are upping patrols following Monday evening’s incident.

Debby Cambridge, who saw what happened, said the perpetrators looked aged between 15 and 16 and one had a can of beer.

She added: “I had some friends over from Canada who went back today and we went out for a goodbye meal.

“As I walked past the castle I spotted two ducks behind the fence running and three kids chasing them.

“One took a kick at one of the ducks and it was laid on the floor like a dog would do in a submissive state.

“The other ducks got away. I saw him grab a great big stick and began whipping the duck with it.”

Mrs Cambridge, 56, of Mersea Road, Colchester, shouted at the group but said they laughed at her and carried on.

“As I came out of the park gate, they hurled abuse at me,” she said.

“I didn’t have time to get my phone out to take their picture and they just ran off. I was angry. I can’t abide it, it just winds me up, I was pretty upset.”

The Mersea Road resident later returned to the park to check on the animals’ welfare but the ducks had gone.

She was due to ask the castle staff yesterday if CCTV footage might also be available, as she was told by the RSPCA she would need evidence of what she witnessed to help it take action.

A spokesperson for the RSPCA said: “This sounds like a concerning incident and we would urge anyone who has any information to contact the RSPCA cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.”

A Colchester Council spokesman said: “Unfortunately, we were unaware of this incident until this morning.

“Although a ranger was on duty at the time in Upper Castle Park, we did not receive any reports or calls via the Park Security phone – the number of which is displayed around the park.

“We would urge the public to report such incidents to our staff or the police as a priority before posting to social media, as this is more likely to result in a prosecution.”

Rangers checked the park yesterday but found no signs of injured ducks but will monitor the area and take on extra patrols this week.