The prime suspect in the kidnapping by a seagull of a much-loved family dog has been caught on camera.
The fierce-looking gull was pictured surveying the scene and seemingly on the lookout for fresh prey on the same street where a much-loved chihuahua was taken from her garden just hours earlier.
The sighting comes after some neighbours said the birds had become so brazen in recent weeks that they had started to snatch rabbits from the ground – but were still shocked to hear a dog had now been taken.
Owner Becca Hill, 24, confirmed that four-year-old Gizmo was still missing and searches were still being carried out.
The pooch was in the garden of Becca’s house in Paignton, Devon, on Sunday afternoon when her partner witnessed a seagull swooping down and flying away with the small pup in its beak.
There have been no reported sightings since – but on the same street a menacing looking gull has since been photographed on top of a chimney.
One neighbour said: “It is impossible to know if this particular gull was responsible but the way he was lurking must surely make him the prime suspect.”
They added: “The whole community has heard about what happened. There have been posters up and it is quite shocking when you think about it.
“We have heard reports that rabbits have also been snatched from the ground. I guess it was only time until they progressed – but it must be very distressing for Becca and her family.
“It is hard to believe a dog can be taken in this way though.”
Becca is hoping the power of social media and the press will help reunite her with her dog but said she was too upset to speak further about her ordeal.
But speaking yesterday she said: “My partner was in the garden putting the washing out at the time and suddenly he saw it swoop down. It carried Gizmo a fair way as we couldn’t see him anymore. I have no idea if he was dropped or where he is now.”
Becca, who owns three chihuahuas in total, added that she has heard of this happening but never expected it to happen to her.
An RSPB spokesman said: “This must be extremely upsetting for the dog’s owner. Fortunately these types of incidents are very rare and not typical gull behaviour.”