Several reports concerning birds being shot at and decapitated are being investigated by Derbyshire police.
Two seperate reports were received from Long Eaton last week when three men were seen using slingshots around the canal.
Witnesses believed they were trying to target birds.
The men of a large build were wearing dark trousers and wellingtons, they also had four Patterdale dogs and an Irish Woflhound with them.
Reports go as far back as February when a resident of Hall Drive in Sandiacre described finding a decapitated blackbird after witnessing a group of youths hanging around with a catapult.
PCSO Laura Buchanan from the Sandiacre Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team said the two incidents weren’t believed to have been connected but that they were appealing for information.
She added: “This is terrible not only for the poor animals being targeted but also for members of the public who happen to come across a bird or animal that has been hit.
Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Alan Charles stated that tackling wildlife crime was a priority within his police and crime plan,
He said: “Any form of cruelty, whether it is against people, animals or birds is totally unacceptable and we need information to help us tackle it.
“I’ve made it clear that wildlife and rural crime is a priority within our agreed local policing plan but it’s really important that people report any concerns to the police,” he added.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the police team immediately on 101 or Crimesoppers, who have recently launched a campaign to raise awareness of rural and wildlife crime.