A HAMPSHIRE community outraged by the sickening act of heartless yobs who catapulted ducklings to death have clubbed together to fund a reward in a bid to catch the culprits.

Appalled by the gang of yobs who used catapults to kill and maim young mallards on a nature reserve at Furzedown Farm in Hythe, scores of residents have so far raised more than £300 for a reward.

Since the story appeared in Saturday's Daily Echo, the Noble family, who own the land, have been inundated with support from friends and strangers, who are all determined to find those responsible.

Owner Deryk saw the teenagers firing lead pellets at the defenceless creatures from just yards away.

After chasing the yobs off, he rushed to call police - only to find the youths had returned in greater numbers just 45 minutes later for a second cruel assault.

Deryk's son Martin stood up to them and they fled. He said: “The support from everyone has been overwhelming and we are so grateful for that.

“Everybody is just really passionate about catching the people that have done this to the ducklings and the reward fund continually rising, with people adding their donations all the time.

“We understand that those who have information about the group that did this may feel frightened about coming forward, but it is the right thing to do. So if anyone knows anything, please let us know.”