A family of swans are thought to have been killed by youths armed with a catapult this weekend.
Dog walker Darryl Bowen, from Cricklade, has seen the group using the dangerous weapon on Thursday evening when he took a stroll along the River Thames near Waterhay, Leigh.
Fond of the family of swans, the man regularly visited them to feed them. But on Friday evening, he discovered the mother swan and three cygnets fatally wounded. It’s understood the incident was then reported to both Wiltshire Police and the RSPCA.
Yesterday (Saturday), Mr Bowen returned to the area to visit the remaining father swan and cygnets but instead discovered two of the already decimated family dead, with the adult male nowhere to be seen. They are thought to have been killed between 7am and 5pm.
Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, it is illegal to intentionally kill or injure a wild bird. Unmarked mute swans are also owned by the Crown, meaning killing one is theft and injuring one is criminal damage.
A £500 cash reward for information leading to the conviction of those responsible has been offered by Mr Bowen.
Marton Lane, manager of nearby quarry Eysey Manor said that their site has a ‘very high population of swans’, adding that the firm will keep an extra eye on the site boundary in light of the killings.