Essex

Basildon swan death: Reward offered to catch culprit

An animal rights charity is offering a £1,000 reward for information about the decapitation of swan at an Essex park.

The male bird was found beheaded by dog walkers at Northlands Park in Basildon in June with bite marks to its neck.

It is still unknown whether it was killed deliberately, although youths with dogs were spotted in the park on the evening before the swan was found.

The PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) charity described the incident as "alarming".

Spokesman Alistair Currie said: "This kind of cruelty and the treatment that seems to have been meted out to this swan should be alarming for all of us.

Mate relocated

"Not just for the animal suffering, but because the kind of people who do this represent a threat to all of us.

"We put up these rewards on a pretty regular basis throughout the country for particularly disturbing attacks and this certainly falls into that category."

He added in most cases people came forward "because it's the right thing to do" rather than because of the cash incentive.

A few weeks after the swan's death its mate was relocated for its own safety after a number of complaints of youths throwing stones at the female.

The charity asked people with information to contact the RSPCA, who are unconnected with the reward.

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