Swan hit 14 times by airgun yobs as £1000 reward put up for information

The swans and cygnet recover at the Scottish SPCA's Wildlife Rescue Centre in Dunfermline

The swans and cygnet recover at the Scottish SPCA's Wildlife Rescue Centre in Dunfermline

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A FAMILY of swans has been targeted by airgun thugs – with one shot at least 14 times.

The two swans and a cygnet were rescued from Dedridge Pond in Livingston by the Scottish SPCA after the adult female, known locally as Edna, was found with wounds across her head and body. Her mate, known as Eck, was also severely injured.

An x-ray of Edna's skull shows the pellets

An x-ray of Edna's skull shows the pellets

A £1000 reward has been offered by an anonymous donor for information leading to a conviction.

Helen Divine, 81, who has been feeding the birds in the pond every day for the last 20 years, said she had been left horrified by the attack.

Mrs Divine, who was recently honoured for her devotion to the birds by having a bench named after her, said she got the fright of her life when she turned up at the pond on Monday.

Mrs Divine, a retired cook supervisor from Dedridge, said: “Edna was in a mess, she was covered in blood – her face, head and back. It was heartbreaking.

“She wanted to eat but couldn’t put her neck down to pick up the food, and her mate couldn’t eat with the pellet in his neck. His head was away to one side. It was dreadful.

“What happened to them is wicked and cruel.”

Reverend Robin Hine, minister at Livingston Ecumenical Parish, will talk about the swans at a service at the Lanthorn on Sunday at 11.30am.

He will also show an animated film about Dedridge Pond – called The Pond – which was created by Bankton Primary pupils earlier this year.

“I had been looking for a suitable Sunday to show the film and I decided I would make it this Sunday because there’s so much upset about the swans,” he said.

The cygnet does not appear to have sustained any visible injuries, however, two weeks prior to the incident another cygnet, believed to be from the same family, was found dead.

Three Scottish SPCA ambulance drivers rescued the three birds and took them to Inglis Vets in Dunfermline for examination and pain relief.

They have since been moved to the charity’s Wildlife Rescue Centre near Dunfermline.

It is too early to say if the two adults will survive the attack, with the next two days likely to be crucial.

Mrs Divine, a great-grandmother of three, said: “I have been missing them. I hope they come back because the pond’s lost without the swans.”

Scottish SPCA ambulance driver Connie O’Neill said: “This was a deliberate and cruel attack on a family of defenceless swans.”