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Thugs kill swan and shoot metal in another's beak at Telford beauty spot

By Rory Smith | Telford | Crime | Published: | Last Updated:

Thugs have been attacking swans at a Telford beauty spot, killing one and lodging a metal nut in another's beak.

The swan. Inset: The metal nut in its beak

The latest incident at Holmer Lake, in Brookside, saw a swan severely injured after part of a bolt was fired at it, becoming stuck in its beak, which was discovered by a fisherman on Wednesday.

It is thought to have been the third incident in a series of attacks on wildlife at the lake which has led to three swans being removed this year.

In one case, a young male bird suffered a neck injury and died when it was struck by an object from a catapult-type weapon earlier this month.

One swan was shot and killed, reported to the RSPCA on June 8

The incidents have been reported to both the police and the RSPCA.

Following the latest attack, Brookside Councillor Shana Roberts said: "Another injury to a swan on Holmer Lake. RSPCA confirmed it is a nut and speculate this could have only been done with a catapult.

"We are devastated and so very angry. We will be calling on support from the community and local schools' help to protect our lake."

Lake patrols

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The Friends of Holmer Lake group is now setting up a foot patrol scheme to monitor wildlife safety following a meeting with West Mercia Police's rural and business crime officer.

Connor Furnival, chairman of the group, said: "Following our meeting we have agreed that we will create our own regular lake patrol scheme of volunteers to regularly monitor activities at Holmer Lake.

"This is aimed to prevent any harm being caused to wildlife, persons or environment as anything that is seen as damaging or criminal will be properly reported immediately.

"This will also help for future data recording for management plans to determine visitor times, so in essence this scheme is useful now and for the future.

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"We also agree that we are seeking the opportunity to install nature cameras at the lake to keep an eye on the wildlife's safety and activities."

Several swans at the lake have been targeted in recent weeks

Proposals for closed circuit security and more warning signs have also been suggested in a bid to discourage vandalism and criminals.

Ideas about how to improve security include getting police officers and angling groups to step up their presence at the site.

Potential jail term

Cheryl Hague, RSPCA spokeswoman, said: "We are investigating after a swan was found injured at Holmer Lake near Telford with a nut in his beak.

"The RSPCA have rescued the swan and he has been taken to one of our centres for treatment.

"This incident comes shortly after another swan was found dead by a member of the public in the same area on June 8 with a neck wound.

"We are concerned that both these incidents were caused by someone using a catapult to intentionally harm wildlife.

"We are asking for anyone with information as to who is responsible or anyone who saw anything suspicious to call the RSPCA appeals line on 03001238018.

“All wild birds, including swans, are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take them except under licence. The maximum penalty, if found guilty, is six months in prison and/or an unlimited fine.”

A metal nut lodged in the swan's beak

Mr Furnival added the group may have images of the suspected culprits.

He said: "It has come to light that potentially an image sent to us around three weeks ago of two gentlemen attempting to harm ducks with a catapult like object are in connection with the death of the swan.

"We have also received images of two gentlemen seen at Holmer Lake a few days before the death of the swan with again what looks like a catapult in their pockets, the person who took the original photo has identified these men as the same people."

A crowdfunding campaign has also been set up by concerned residents, with the aim of creating a £500 reward to find the offenders.

Anyone with any information should call West Mercia Police on 101 quoting crime reference number 0641S080619.

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Trainee news reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Ketley office in Telford.

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