Somerset

Three arrested over Somerset swan deaths

Surviving swan at Secret World - Secret World
Image caption A surviving swan that is being treated at the charity's centre is said to be "doing well"

Three men have been arrested in connection with the shooting of swans in Somerset.

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said the three, aged 34, 37 and 45, were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage on Tuesday.

Eight birds were shot in the head with airgun pellets and were found in a field outside Blackford. It is believed to have happened on 21 February.

The men are currently being questioned by officers.

A police spokesman said officers and the RSPCA had been investigating the shooting of an unconfirmed number of swans over a three-week period.

Pauline Kidner from Wildlife rescue group Secret World said x-rays revealed that eight birds had definitely been shot.

She said a further 43 were found, but it was unclear how they had died.

Last week, author Sir Terry Pratchett added £10,000 to a reward to help catch the killer of the swans.

Ms Kidner said that so much money had been offered by well-wishers that the reward has been capped at £25,000.

Other donations will go towards helping other injured swans rescued by the group, she said.

A surviving swan that is being treated at the charity's centre is "doing well", a charity spokeswoman added.

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