Page last updated at 12:44 GMT, Friday, 12 February 2010

Swans' bodies found in Norfolk were 'filled with shot'

X-ray of swan's body, revealing that it is filled with shot
The RSPCA took x-rays of the wounded bodies

The bodies of a pair of swans found in Norfolk were "peppered" with shot, the RSPCA has said.

The dead birds had been partially hidden under bracken next to a path in Church Road, Horningtoft, near Dereham.

X-rays revealed the swans were filled with shot across their entire bodies, wings and heads.

The RSPCA has just released details and believes the swans were shot on 30 January, the day they were found, or the previous night.

RSPCA inspector Dean Astill-Dunseith said: "These swans had tens upon tens of shotgun pellets in their bodies.

"They must have suffered an awful death, being shot over and over again at close range.

"It is a completely mindless act to shoot at wild birds. Those responsible for such attacks should realise that they are illegal and cause huge suffering for no other reason but the bizarre enjoyment of the attacker."

Those found guilty of killing or injuring wild birds could face a maximum six-month prison sentence and/or a £5,000 fine, the RSPCA said.

Anyone with information should contact the charity.

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