York & North Yorkshire

Man fined for shooting swan 'thinking it was goose'

A man who shot a swan thinking it was goose is believed to be the first person in England prosecuted for using lead shot illegally on wildfowl.

Electrician Simon Quince, 36, from Harthills, Barnsley, was fined £445 for shooting the swan and £100 for using the wrong shot.

He appeared at Harrogate Magistrates' Court and admitted killing the swan near Knaresborough last December.

An investigation found he had been using the shotgun cartridges illegally.

North Yorkshire Police and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds found Quince had been using gun cartridges that contained lead shot.

'Significant difference'

Quince was on a shoot on a freezing cold, but clear day last winter.

He noticed four birds flying over and thinking they were geese, he opened fire.

One of the birds came crashing down badly injured and Quince realised he had shot a swan, which is protected by law.

The bird was later put down by a local vet.

Wildlife Officer for North Yorkshire Police Pc Gareth Jones said: "The onus is on the person to identify their quarry.

"There is a significant difference between a goose and a swan. If he wasn't sure, he shouldn't have taken the shot."

It has been against the law to use lead shot on wildfowl shoots in England since 1999.

Lead is banned because it can easily find its way into the food chain of foraging birds on wetlands and is poisonous.

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