Kent

Family of swans shot dead in 'senseless' Benenden attack

The swan x-ray Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption X-rays revealed the extent of two of the birds' injuries

An entire family of swans has been wiped out when the birds were shot and killed in a "senseless" attack.

The bodies of two adults and five cygnets were found wrapped in plastic bags in Benenden, Kent on 24 November.

X-rays showed one of the birds found by the bank of a stream in Stepneyford Lane had been "peppered with pellets".

RSPCA Inspector Dave Grant said it was "absolutely disgusting that someone would purposefully target and kill these beautiful birds".

Mr Grant was alerted to the killings by police and is now investigating.

'Heartbreaking'

Two of the bodies were examined by the RSPCA in Hastings, East Sussex, with X-rays revealing numerous pellet or shot in both bodies.

Mr Grant said: "It's clear that these poor mute swans have been shot and killed deliberately... and it's heartbreaking that an entire family has been wiped out in this cruel incident."

Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption X-ray images showed one bird had been "peppered with shots"

PC Daniel Perry, from Kent Police rural task force, said it was called at about 10:00 GMT on 24 November after the swans were found.

He said police were helping the RSPCA with its investigation.

Mr Grant appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

"I'm keen to find out who is responsible for this senseless attack on this family of swans," he said.

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