Three jet-skiers who deliberately tormented a pod of 250 seals on a sandbank including pregnant females have been branded as ‘utter idiots.’
Footage of the jet-skiers driving at the colony of protected common seals at a nature reserve was filmed by a shocked on-looker.
It shows the frightened mammals scattering from along the waters’ edge and seeking sanctuary in the sea as the powerful jet-skis scream towards them.
The incident in Skegness, Lincs, was filmed earlier this month and has prompted condemnation and calls for jet-skis to be banned from the area.
Police are currently investigating and appealing for witnesses.
Liam Andrews, 23, was bird watching at the beach when he spotted three jet ski riders approaching a colony of seals at Gibraltar Point in Skegness, Lincs.
The panicking animals hurried out of the way of the noise and many appeared to make a dash for the water in an attempt to swim away.
This then put the seals at risk of getting struck by boats and other vehicles.
Mr Andrews said: “The riders rode up and down the sandbank for about 10 minutes and then were standing on the sandbank for approximately 20 minutes.
He said: “I was disappointed and annoyed anyone would show such blatant disregard for the wildlife especially on a SSSI Nature Reserve when the staff and volunteers work so hard to look after all the animals there.”
“It clearly shows reckless disturbance to this important breeding colony of harbour (common) seals – a legally protected species.
A spokeswoman for the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust said: “We were shocked to see the video of the three individuals on jet skis at Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve on June 16.
“As the video has been shared widely on social media, we hope that it raise awareness of the impact that jet skis and boats can have on marine mammals and birds.
“Disturbance of this kind occurs across the UK both deliberately and unintentionally.
“We would encourage people to follow the advice provided by The Green Blue www.thegreenblue.org.uk/Boat-Users/Wildlife-and-Habitats.
“Lincolnshire Police have appealed for information on the registrations of vehicles used to transport the jet skis.”
Mr Andrews took a video of the incident and posted it on Twitter.
He wrote: “Three selfish individuals on jet skis crossed into the sanctuary area and intentionally disturbed an internationally important breeding colony…”
The footage was met with a furious response by other users who branded the trio as “ignorant” and “utter idiots”.
Joanne Garforth commented: “Absolute selfish muppets!! Unfortunately, that’s society today.
“There are a minority of ‘couldn’t care less’ people who think they can do whatever they like, no rules or regulations for them.”
Another user, Alik Simmons, wrote: “If I was king for the day, I would order the collection and destruction of every last one of those jet skis.
“They’re nothing but egregiously noisy toys for overpaid narcissists and serve no one but the prats that ride them.”
It was also shared online by former Skegness councillor John Byford.
In a statement he said: “This incident has highlighted the serious dangers to both wildlife and bathers alike.
“I feel legislation should now be considered on jet ski usage.
“Licensing needs to be introduced with more strict controls, especially in areas such as Skegness where our Blue Flag beaches are enjoyed by thousands of visitors.
“Deliberately disturbing a seal colony at Gibraltar Point Nature Reserve, an internationally important site of wildlife and conservation, highlights the idiotic and reckless nature of some jet ski users.”
The Wildlife Crime Unit at Lincolnshire Police are currently investigating.