Sock shoved on Swan’s head as police condemn ‘mindless’ prank by thugs

Police said a "mindless prank" on a swan could have led to the protected bird starving or potentially suffocating.

Officers in Lincolnshire were responding after they were alerted by a member of Yorkshire Swan and Rescue Hospital to an incident where a black sock had been placed over the large bird's head.

Police have ruled out the incident being an accident after it was clear the sock was placed intentionally on the swan's head due to how snug the fit was.

The swan was found in Coulson Road, Lincoln, and officers have appealed for witnesses with the RSPCA in the hope of tracing the culprits, reports LincolnshireLive.

A photo of the cruel act was shared by Lincolnshire Police on its Twitter account where they asked for the public's help.

PC Llewellyn, investigating officer, said: “Any type of animal cruelty will not be tolerated and we will carry out a full investigation into this incident. We work with wildlife organisations who report these incidents to us so we can investigate.

"We believe the item has been placed on the swan’s head intentionally due to how snug the fit was and how far down the neck of the swan the tube was. We do not believe that this was accidental. Had the swan rescue not intervened, the swan would have either starved or potentially suffocated.

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“We would like to hear from anyone who can assist us with our investigation or anyone who may have seen anyone around the swan in the water in the days leading up to May 2.”

All wild birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and it is an offence to kill, injure or take wild birds except under licence. The maximum penalty, if found guilty, is six months in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

RSPCA Inspector Kate Burris said: “The consequences of this mindless prank could have resulted in this poor swan suffering over a long period of time and ultimately ended in their death.

“Given that this is the breeding and nesting season at the moment this could have also resulted in suffering and sadly death for any dependent offspring.

“We would urge anyone who has any information as to who may have done this to this poor swan. We would urge them to call the police on 101 or contact us on the RSPCA cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.”

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