THE bodies of four fox cubs have been discovered after they were shot dead in a park.

The cubs were found in Villa park in Benfleet on Monday.

Suffolk and Essex Hunt Saboteurs are now appealing for information.

It is believed the cubs were killed over the weekend, with two of the foxes reportedly being placed in different locations and their bodies turned over to hide the wounds.

Suffolk and Essex Hunt Sabs said they were shocked to hear about the shootings, and warned the community to be vigilant while walking in parks in the area.

A spokesperson for the group said: “As hunt saboteurs we are used to dealing with wildlife crime in rural, hunting areas. But we were shocked to be told of these four fox cubs that were shot and killed in Benfleet, a non-hunting area.

“They were only a few months old and would have started exploring their environment more. Unfortunately they were discovered by someone that hates wildlife.

“The local community is shocked and appalled by this and many have come forward offering to help monitor the area where the cubs were found.”

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The group is urging anyone who saw anything suspicious over the bank holiday weekend to come forward with information.

They've also warned about an increase in wildlife crime in the area. 

The group added: "We've also been informed of further incidents of crows being shot in local large woodland and seagulls in another local park. 

"Badger setts have also been targeted more with being blocked and set on fire. 

"It is very alarming the increase in wildlife in this area and shows that wildlife isn't necessarily safe anywhere."

Jon Fuller, chair of south east Essex friends of the earth condemned the actions of those responsible for the cubs’ deaths.

Mr Fuller said: “Wildlife in the UK is in a terrible state and we risk the extinction of a quarter of UK mammals.

“It is cruelty like this that leads to extinction.

“We have to co-exist and respect animals and stop this arrogance that we’re the only species that matters.

“We have a responsibility to the wildlife and we must protect it.

“I would express outrage at this. It’s very sad.”

Boyce councillor Charles Mumford said: “It’s completely unacceptable.

“I would condemn them whole heartedly. It’s a very cruel and disgusting thing to do.”

A spokesperson for the RSPCA said: “This is very sad to hear and must have been very distressing for the person who found the cubs.”

The charity urged anyone with information to come forward.

Suffolk and Essex Hunt Sabs have also urged people with information to contact them on Facebook