A NORTHERN Echo reader is offering a cash reward for the capture of the “scum” who beheaded a pony, which police now say may have been deliberately targeted.

Alison Robinson was so horrified by what happened to Trigger, a seven-year-old Shetland pony whose severed head was found by his owner on Wednesday, a week after he went missing from his paddock, that she has decided to act.

Mrs Robinson, who works for her husband’s roofing business but also owns two horses of her own, said: “Ever since I read about what happened to Trigger, I have not been able to get it out of my head.

“Who could do such a sick thing?

“I want the people responsible caught and am offering £50 to anyone who provides information which leads to those guilty of this horrific crime to be convicted.”

Mrs Robinson, who lives near Coundon, Bishop Auckland, said the crime should repulse all animal lovers.

And police have said they believe Trigger was targeted deliberately.

He was last seen at his paddock at 5.30pm on Tuesday, November 8, at the White Moor Allotments, in Spennymoor, County Durham, sparking a frantic search by his owner Patricia Lister.

On Wednesday afternoon, Ms Lister, who has owned trigger for three years, and some relatives found Trigger’s head in woods a ten-minute walk away from where he lived.

On Thursday morning, she also discovered the headless body of her Muscovan duck while three others had gone missing.

PC Paul Colman, from the Spennymoor beat team, said: “We are following a number of lines of inquiry. At this stage, we do not believe this was a random attack.”

The case has sparked a furious response on The Northern Echo website.

Thomas Atkins said: “What kind of utter filth would do this? Sub-human rubbish.”

Several others also speculated that anyone capable of killing Trigger could move on to hurting humans, while one reader, Rodski, said: “Sickening scum. Bring back the birch and flog them.”

Anyone with information is asked to call PC Colman on 0345-60-60-365 or Crimestoppers on 0800-555-111.