POLICE are appealing for people to come forward who have seen video footage of a pet rabbit apparently being tortured and killed.
Five people have now been arrested after white lionhead rabbit Percy was stolen from her hutch in Dawdon over the weekend, leaving owners Anthony Atkinson, wife Rebecca and their three children devastated.
A video appeared online which the family say featured three men in a bath with Percy. The video is said to have featured horrific footage of the rabbit being set alight and thrown from a window before being killed.
Four people – two men and two boys – were initially arrested before a 21-year-old man was also questioned on Monday night.
All five were arrested on suspicion of theft and criminal damage and released on bail until the end of August. The video has since been taken down, but officers – who have seized mobile phones as part of their inquiries – are urging anyone to come forward who may have seen it.
Detective Sergeant Claire Hepburn said: “We would like to thank the community for their input and support, because we have had people coming for- ward.
“We would still like to hear from them if they have any information and if they have seen the video.
“It wasn’t online long, no more than a few hours, before it was taken down, but that video might be being circulated, so we want to hear from anyone who has copies.”
The RSPCA is assisting police with their work.
Police say thieves struck between Friday night and Saturday morning at the family home in Embleton Mews.
Percy had given birth to five baby rabbits just days earlier. Anthony and Rebecca, both 31, their son Brynn, four, and Rebecca’s children Aaron Lennox, 10, and Jessica Lennox, 14, have all been left heartbroken by the ordeal.
Anyone with information is asked to ring Durham Constabulary on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.