AN INVESTIGATION is underway after a swan was shot dead in a cruel air gun attack in Stourport.

RSPCA officers are appealing for information after a pair of swans were shot with an air weapon on Tuesday (January 9).

Sadly, one of the birds was killed in the attack, which is thought to have happened overnight, after being shot in the head.

The gruesome discovery was made by a member of the public who found the swan next to a private pond in Stourport.

The dead swan was taken to a vet for x-rays which showed the metal pellet had lodged in his head.

RSPCA Inspector Adrian Langley, who is investigating, encouraged anyone who may have seen someone shooting an air weapon in the area to contact him.

He said: “This is a cowardly sadistic offence that has sadly left one swan dead and another without a mate, and with possibly life threatening injuries.

“An x-ray confirmed the cause of death was a head injury caused by an air rifle pellet. The other swan was also shot but has managed to fly off, possibly with an airgun pellet lodged in its body. Our efforts are continuing to catch the surviving swan.

“People need to remember the devastating consequences that shooting at animals with air guns can have.

“Animals can suffer horrendous injuries and often die as a result of airgun attacks and these weapons are potentially extremely dangerous for people as well.

“We would also like to remind members of the public that all wild birds, including swans, are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is an offence to kill, injure or take them without a licence. The maximum penalty, if found guilty, is six months in prison and/or a £5,000 fine.

“We would urge anyone who has any information on who shot these swans to contact us as soon as possible on 0300 123 8018.”