AN eye witness who saw a driver deliberately run down and kill five gulls has branded the culprit's actions "disgusting".

Garry, who doesn't want his surnam mentoned, said he felt sick as he watched the motorist deliberately drive towards the gulls as they ate chips left in the road in Canon Street, Taunton.

A person passing by on a moped stopped to remove the birds onto the pavement as Garry called the RSPCA.

"It was awful, disgusting," said Garry. "I was shocked.

"It made me feel sick. The man who did it needs to be traced."

He said the driver, at the wheel of a gold VW Caddy with disabled stickers on, turned right out of Canon Street Car Park.

Garry added: "He accelerated and went over the gulls right outside the dentists' and just carried on into Duke Street towards Eastbourne Road.

"Straight afterwards the birds were still moving.

"How anyone could do that to an animal, I just don't know."

He said the driver appeared to be an elderly man, while there was another man in the passenger seat.

"He hit the gulls with such force there was a big bang and he must have damaged his car," said Garry.

"He could easily have gone round them."

The RSPCA has appealed for witnesses to the incident on Tuesday (July 2) at 9.20pm.

A spokesman for the animal welfare charity said: "This is an unacceptable and intentionally cruel way to treat animals.

"We understand chips had been placed in the road and that the driver sped up and aimed at the birds before driving away as they struggled with broken wings and other horrendous injuries in the road.

"We’d like to speak to anyone who saw what happened, or from anyone who has dash cam or CCTV footage from around the time this happened that can help with our investigation.

"They can contact the RSPCA inspectorate appeal line in confidence on 0300-1238018."

All wild birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is illegal - except under licence - to intentionally take, injure or kill wild birds or interfere with their nest or eggs.

The maximum penalty, if found guilty, is six months in prison and/or an unlimited fine.