A WOMAN who woke to find her pet rabbit missing was sickened after discovering a video of it being tortured to death was posted online.

Three men were later arrested and released on police bail in relation to the incident following the alleged theft of Rebecca Atkinson's female white lionhead rabbit - called Percy - from her hutch in the Dawdon area of Seaham, County Durham.

Its whereabouts remained a mystery until the mother-of-three went online and saw a post which revealed her pet had been stolen and tortured to death.

It was posted on Sunday morning - hours after Percy, who had recently given birth to 11 rabbits, disappeared - and showed three young men naked in a bath with a white rabbit matching her description.

Mrs Atkinson, 31, said the video appeared to show the rabbit being set alight and thrown out of a window.

The three men arrested are aged 17, 19 and 20. A 16-year-old was also arrested in connection with incident and remains in police custody.

The RSPCA have been in contact with Durham Police, but the investigation is being treated as a criminal one.

The video has since been removed from the internet and police have confirmed it is forming part of their investigation.

Ms Atkinson said: "I had posted a picture of Percy on Facebook after he disappeared. I was then contacted by people who had seen a video online.

"I don't have any words to describe what these people did to Percy. It is callous, cruel, there are no words."

A spokesperson for Durham Constabulary said: "Police are investigating the theft and subsequent death of a white lionhead rabbit."

Anyone with any information is urged to call Durham Constabulary on 101, quoting reference number DHM-29062014-0153.