Seals have been kicked, stoned and attacked by dogs in a series of incidents across the UK over the past week, according to a charity.
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) said it had received reports of incidents in Essex, Norfolk, Kent, Yorkshire and Northumberland.
It also said a team of its medics were verbally abused at Druridge Bay, Northumberland, on Tuesday while tending to a seal that had been chased by an out-of-control dog.
Meanwhile, police in Essex said they had received reports of young people throwing stones at a seal at Walton-on-the-Naze.
Other cases included seals being repeatedly kicked and chased into the sea.
On Good Friday, there were five incidents reported to BDMLR before lunchtime, the most it has ever had in such a small space of time.
Dan Jarvis, director of welfare and conservation at BDMLR, said: “It’s hard to say why some people think it is OK to stone seals, drag them around by their flippers or intentionally set their dogs on them.
“Clearly they do not care about the welfare of the animal and only what they can get out of doing such cruel actions.”
During the spring there are often young seals on beaches, only recently independent of their mothers, who may be more vulnerable.
Mr Jarvis added: “Some of these seal pups have actually already been weak, sick or injured and have been less able to defend themselves or escape back into the sea, which makes these attacks doubly harrowing to hear about and deal with for our team.”