Page last updated at 16:21 GMT, Friday, 28 November 2008

Swans die in 'malicious' attacks

The swans had become a familiar sight in the village

A fourth swan has died in Derbyshire in two weeks after being "maliciously injured", the RSPCA said.

The juvenile bird, which lived on Codnor Park reservoir, was found with head injuries in Ironville on Thursday.

Children waiting for a bus found the wounded swan. A vet later recovered an air gun pellet from the bird.

Two swans had to be put down after being found with head wounds and another, found on a nearby golf course, was decapitated, the RSPCA said.

Inspectors said the swans have been a familiar sight in Ironville as a group of them often walked to the shop and bus stop in the village twice a day at school bus times.

But on Thursday morning the latest bird was found injured.

'Children in tears'

David Harrison, from Ironville Parish Council, said: "My wife went out when she saw the school children standing around in tears.

"I went across and just saw it with blood pouring from its neck."

The swan later died during surgery.

Fran Whitten, of the RSPCA, said: "I don't know how anyone can have a conscience while they're going out doing this."

The first swan was found with head injuries in Jacksdale on 5 November.

The second swan was discovered on Monday at the Ormonde Fields Golf Club in Codnor, less than two miles from the scene of the first shooting.

Both had to be put down.

The RSPCA has appealed for witnesses to contact inspectors or the police.


Inspectors said the injuries were "malicious"

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