Animal rights officials are calling for the mandatory licensing of air guns in a bid to better protect animals.

National figures just revealed by the charity show how there was 767 calls about air gun attacks on animals last year, with 18 in Merseyside.

The majority of the call outs involved cats, but dogs, pigeons and foxes are also commonly targeted.

As well as mandatory licensing, the RSPCA is calling for a range of measures to tackle the problem of air guns.

Dermot Murphy, RSPCA chief inspectorate officer said: “During last year alone, we received 767 reports of attacks where air guns were used on animals across England and Wales.

“Animals are suffering horrendous injuries and often dying as a result of airgun attacks and these weapons are also potentially extremely dangerous for people.”