A COMMUNITY has been left devastated after much-loved goose was found dead at Whitehaven harbour over the weekend.

One of the harbour geese, known to many as Billy, had become a popular character at the harbour leaving many in the community upset by its passing.

One of the devastated members of public was Mel James from the Ani-mel sanctuary in West Cumbria, who had looked after Billy in recent weeks.

Billy got his foot suck in the metal gates at the harbour last month, staying with the sanctuary for a couple of weeks before being reunited with the other harbour geese after recovering from his injury.

Mel said the popular goose had a 'welcoming committee' when returned to the harbour with ‘people standing around taking pictures of him’.

Talking about the shock of the latest incident, Mel said: “Everybody loves them, they are part of the scenery down there. People travel into Whitehaven for miles to come and see them. It has destroyed me, and it’s destroyed a lot of people.

“It was gut wrenching really, because when animals come into rescue and you spend time with them, every animal, every bird they have got their own characteristics.

"They’re all characters and he was such a canny little character, there was no malice in him, everybody loved him.”

On Saturday, November 18, police arrested two teenagers in connection with Billy's death after images circulated on social media, with the police continuing to appeal for information.

A Cumbria Police spokesman said: “We have arrested two teenage boys on suspicion of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal following concerns over images circulating on social media.

“Officers became aware of concerns in the community over images appearing to relate to the treatment of a bird at Whitehaven Harbour.

“They moved to make the arrests this afternoon.

“Officers are appealing for any information that could help the enquiry.”

Anyone with information can report online at https://orlo.uk/l5zcl - quoting incident 264 of November 17. You can also phone on 101. Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.