Police have shot dead a rare white deer running amok through the streets of Merseyside.
The white stag shocked residents after it was caught roaming the streets of Bootle, in the suburbs of Liverpool.
Police have been criticised for shooting the animal dead despite RSPCA advice to “leave the deer as it would make its own way back home” eventually.
Merseyside Police said officers decided to euthanise the deer after growing concerns it might be dangerous for motorists and pedestrians.
Locals mourned the death of a “Bootle Legend”.
The force said it first received reports of the fallow buck running along various roads at about 8.45am on Sunday.
Things you don’t normally see in Bootle on a Sunday 🦌🦌 pic.twitter.com/MP5eSQklcI
— paulakp (@paulawooparr) September 26, 2021
A spokesman said: “There were concerns for safety for motorists and Armed Response officers were able to secure the deer on an industrial estate off Melling Road and a veterinary surgeon was called to scene to monitor the animal’s welfare and assist the officers attempts to control the animal.
“Several enquiries were made to find an organisation who could assist with recovering the deer safely, but unfortunately we were unable to get assistance and as the hours went by the deer became more distressed.
“There was no option to let the deer wander as it could be a danger to motorists and members of the public in the area, particularly as the hours of darkness approached. “As a result a decision was made in the early evening to euthanise the deer.”
A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said that while the deer could have been sedated “this needs to be done with caution in a public area such as this one, as the deer could startle and run when hit by the dart”.
“This could create a bigger public safety and animal welfare issue,” she added.
“Although deer traditionally live in forests, moors and parkland, they are becoming more common in urban environments across the UK.”