Police in Melksham are hunting a marksman who has been shooting birds in the south of the town with an air rifle.

PC Emily Thomas, of the Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We have received reports that in the area of Conway Crescent in Melksham songbirds, pigeons and seagulls have been shot, causing the birds to land in private gardens.

“Often the dying birds have to be put down at the vets where they have not been killed instantly.

“The law makes no distinction between air rifles and more powerful guns for which you need a licence – they are all classed as firearms.

“This means that any offence you commit can carry a very heavy penalty.”

Anyone with information about the shootings is asked to contact the NPT on 101.