ANIMAL charities have condemned hooligans for an attack on a seagull which has been linked to the Tour de France.

Concerned holidaymakers alerted Scarborough Sea Life Centre after spotting a struggling bird with bright yellow plumage near the resort's lifeboat station.

Initially, it was thought the bird may have been a rare migrant, but after the centre's aquarist Andy Jayes trapped it, he confirmed the bird was a herring gull.

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The centre said although the bird had been able to fly short distances, the damage to its plumage, if left untreated, would have killed the creature.

RSPCA Inspector Geoff Edmunds said he believed the bird may have been the victim of a prank linked to the Tour de France.

Lia Bull, of the centre, added: “We know there were sheep spray-painted with washable yellow paint to mark the visit of the Tour de France.

“It’s likely someone thought it was a clever idea to paint a seagull as well.”

The bird is recuperating at a RSPCA wildlife centre in Cheshire.

Ms Bull said "I've heard he’s eating hungrily and that the paint is coming off gradually."

Anyone with information about the attack, should call Insp Edmunds on 07969-296418.