POLICE and animal cruelty officials say they are determined to prosecute the sick thug who bit the head off a live chicken.

A video was been posted on internet video-sharing website YouTube, which shows the bird struggling as a youth in a tracksuit places its head in his mouth and then yanks down on its neck.

The footage shows him throwing the headless chicken down into the gutter, where it continues to move for several seconds before finally dying.

The video is believed to have been filmed in Clayton-le-Moors and was posted by someone using the username Zagzam.

Police were notified of the incident after the landlord of the Sparth Manor pub reported a chicken being stolen.

The RSPCA was then informed after the video went on the internet.

However, RSPCA Inspector David Anforth said there may be difficulties in prosecuting on animal cruelty charges because decapitation is a recognised way of killing chickens.

But he said they would try and find an animal welfare law to prosecute the thug if he was located.

He added: "This despicable act should never have taken place.

"If we can find animal welfare laws that have been breached then we will prosecute.

"The problem is not just people who are committing these acts but also those who are logging on to watch them.

"They are encouraging people to carry out these cruel acts."