‘Serial swan killer on loose’ as two birds slaughtered with crossbow

A serial swan killer "is on the loose" after two birds were executed with a crossbow in a horror attack at a Dorset beauty spot.

The first swan was spotted with an arrow lodged in its right wing on a boating lake in Poole Park.

Wildlife rescue volunteers waded into water to recover the bird in a desperate bid to save it but it died a short time later.

Later that day a second swan was found with an arrow speared through its neck.

The sickening acts at the popular beauty spot have left locals reeling. The RSPCA and the police have launched a joint investigation into the killings of the swan which are technically owned by the Queen.

David Bowman, a volunteer at animal charity Wildlife in Need, said: "There's a serial swan murderer on the loose. They need to be stopped.

"We received a call about the swan who had a crossbow through its wing.

"The charity founder Lynne Parker waded into the water up to her neck to retrieve the swan.

"It was a highly distressing experience as the poor swan died in my arms on the way to the emergency vets.

"I can't understand how someone could be so cruel and shoot such a beautiful bird.

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"Now, I've heard that a second swan has been found with an arrow through its neck."

Dorset Police were called to the park at 8.47am on Monday after a passer-by noticed the first injured animal.

It was rushed to the vet’s surgery but could not be saved. Cops received another call soon after and found another bird injured in the same way.

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Three arrows were found in the surrounding area.

PC Andrea Grant, of Poole Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "I am appealing to anyone who was in Poole Park and may have witnessed the incident to please get in touch.

"I would also urge residents to check their home CCTV systems for anyone seen carrying a bow and arrow in the local area."

Police take reports of animal cruelty seriously because it often precedes violent crime against humans.

Moors murderer Ian Brady who killed five children in the 1960s murdered a cat aged 10 and went on to kill dogs and rabbits before turning his attention on people.

Child killers Robert Thompson and Jon Venables also shot pigeons and tied rabbits to railway lines before they preyed on defenceless toddler Jamie Bulger in 1993, in a killing which horrified Britain.

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