Man sought over Dorset swan crossbow attack

Injured swan
Image caption The pair of mating swans had patrolled the same stretch of water near Throop Mill for many years

Police hunting a man they believe carried out an attack on a pair of swans with a crossbow have released a description of him.

The swans were shot while on the water near Throop Mill in Bournemouth on 27 March at about 18:00 GMT.

Emergency surgery was needed on the male swan's injured lung. The RSPCA were unable to catch the female swan, who died two days later.

The man is described as about 6ft, in is 40s and tanned with dark hair.

He was wearing a black baseball cap, and a black or dark coloured leather jacket with red piping.

'Atrocious act'

Police said he was carrying a black crossbow which also had red piping and appeared to match his clothing.

PC Claire Dinsdale said: "This is an atrocious act.

"I am appealing to anyone who may have seen this man in the area at the time of this incident to come forward and contact police in confidence.

"I believe he would have been seen by members of the public as the location is very popular with dog walkers and fisherman."

Police said it appeared the windows at the nearby mill at Throop had also been shot at.

Swans are protected birds and the Crown retains the right to ownership of all unmarked mute swans in open water.

Killing or injuring them is punishable by a six-month prison term and/or a fine up to £5,000.

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