The RSPCA is hunting for three men after six birds were found dead and several others injured in glue traps set at Warnham Nature Reserve.
The animal welfare charity said the traps had been found on bird feeders and in vegetation near a bird hide at the wildlife preserve in Warnham Road.
Five blue tits and one great tit were found dead whilst others have been taken to the Countryside Warden to be cleaned and rehabilitated. It is hoped they will be released.
The RSPCA - which is based in Southwater - was alerted to the issue by rangers from Horsham District Council who discovered the entangled birds stuck to feeders on Thursday (September 13).
According to the charity the substance is known as bird lime and had been smeared on feeders and surrounding vegetation. It is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to trap or attempt to trap wild birds.
A spokesman for the RSPCA said it is looking to speak to three men in connection with these ‘cruel traps’.
Two of the men are described as around 30-years-old, six-foot tall and had short hair, shaved at the sides and long on top. A third man was described as older, but not as tall and wearing a cap.
A spokesperson for the RSPCA said: “We are working closely with the district council to investigate this incident and are appealing to anyone who may have any information to contact the RSPCA in confidence on 0300 123 8018.
“If anyone sees the three men described acting suspiciously in the area again we would urge them to call the police first and also contact the RSPCA.
“Using this method of trapping causes huge amounts of distress and suffering for the birds and will indiscriminately ensnare anything that comes into contact with it. Some birds have already died due to these traps in this case.”