A SWAN has been stolen from her nest by a gang in Warwick.
A resident whose home overlooks the Kingfisher Pool near St Nicholas Park watched in horror from her window as the four-strong gang surrounded the mum-to-be before grabbing her and taking her away in the early hours of the morning on Thursday March 28. The swan was one of four seen regularly around the pool and on the nearby River Avon.
Fisherman who use the pool voiced their outrage after learning the bird had been snatched as she prepared to lay her eggs.
Warwickshire Junior Angling Committee member Jack Orton, who helps care for the nature reserve area, said he had already put netting in place to protect the eggs from wildlife such as badgers and dogs.
He told the Observer: “Swans are always in pairs and its partner is now swimming around like a lost soul. It’s barbaric.
“We need to be more aware of what’s going on with our wildlife. The pool is for kids and disabled people and pensioners to enjoy, and it’s also educational.
“The theft feels very personal to me because I maintain the pool. It’s heart-rendering.”
Mr Orton was convinced the thieves planned to eat the swan.
A spokeswoman from the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust said there were historical cases of swans being stolen for food but no recent incidents the trust was aware of.
A Warwick District Council spokeswoman confirmed the theft was being investigated by police and said the council was ‘deeply saddened’.
Cyril Bennis, who has cared for the swans on the Avon in neighbouring Stratford for the past four decades, was extremely concerned by the theft.
He said: “We have heard about it happening and it’s something people talk about – swans being taken out and being used for food.
“It is difficult to keep tabs on swans because they move around so often. We have never had proof before and if this is the case it is something we would be very concerned about. It needs to be investigated.”