The RSPCA is appealing for information after a swan was found peppered with air gun pellets in a Staffordshire town.

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The swan was found by water in Cannock Road, Burntwood, with a hole in his neck, on Thursday 30 March. RSPCA inspector Rob Crutchley collected the bird and took him to the charity’s Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre, in Nantwich, Cheshire.

An x-ray showed that the swan had been shot 10 times with an air gun. Pellets were found in the bird’s wings, chest, legs, tail and beak.

Sadly, he was so badly injured that he was put to sleep to prevent further suffering.

Inspector Crutchley said: “The swan had been completely peppered with pellets – he would have been in so much pain after what could have been a prolonged attack.

“It is shocking and disturbing to think that someone thinks it is acceptable to do this to an innocent animal. It is cruel and causes horrific suffering. We are appealing for people to come forward with information so we can find out who did this to this poor swan.”

People with information should contact the RSPCA in complete confidence on 0300 123 8018.

It is against the law to kill or injure wild birds, except under licence, and individuals can be fined up to £5,000 and potentially up to six months in prison for each bird killed.

If you see an animal in distress you can ring the RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.

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.)