The RSPCA is appealing for information after a swan was shot in Staffordshire.

A member of the public witnessed a man aiming at and shooting the swan on a lake at Croxall Lakes nature reserve in Croxall Road, in Alrewas, at 9am on Thursday, 7 July. A body of a swan was later found nearby.

RSPCA inspector Kate Levesley, who is investigating, said: “This is a shocking incident which would have been very distressing for anyone who saw it.

“The member of the public who witnessed the incident was not able to see what the swan was shot with and we have not been able to establish what was used – it could have been an air rifle or a dart.

“We are urging anyone who witnessed the incident, or who knows who might be behind it, to contact us in complete confidence on 0300 123 8018 or to call Staffordshire police on 101.

“Also, if you were at the nature reserve at that time and saw anything suspicious, please do contact us so we can find out who is behind this.

“It is very distressing to think that people take pleasure in causing harm to these beautiful and defenseless birds. These are deliberate acts of cruelty and we would appeal to people’s consciences not to commit these offences.

“We would also like to remind people that under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is illegal to take, injure or kill wild birds or interfere with their nest or eggs, unless under licence. The maximum penalty, if found guilty, is six months in prison and/or a £5,000 fine.”

The RSPCA is a charity and we rely on public donations to exist. To assist our inspectors in carrying out their vital work please text HELP to 78866 to give £3. (Texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message.)