HEARLTESS swan killers are being hunted by police after bullet holes were found in two of the protected birds in Fairford.

Suzanne Jones, who runs Fairford Swan Aid, was called to the River Coln by a member of the public on Thursday, July 16, to find a male swan covered in blood.

On closer inspection she spotted a pellet hole and immediately raised the alarm.

"We obviously had to take him away from his mate and he was treated at South West Swan Rescue in Swindon with antibiotics after consultation with avian specialist vets Great Western Referrals," she said.

Luckily, the prompt action saved the cob who was released back onto the river on Monday.

"He has gone looking for his mate now. When you get to them quickly enough you can stop the infection," she added.

But in June a dead swan was found on the river which had also been shot.

A wildlife police officer is now investigating these incidents, which are prosecutable offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

Suzanne said some of the nearby residents had reported hearing shots fired at night.

At the beginning of June, the Standard revealed vandals had destroyed a clutch of swan eggs by Mill bridge.

After losing their territory and their eggs, the pair of swans moved from the mill further down the river.

Suzanne said: "We want to let these people know this has to stop and the police are on to it. I do not understand the mindset behind it.

"The river walk is one of the main tourist attractions in Fairford but part of it will be lost of the swans go."

Police are appealing for anyone who heard or saw the incident on July 16 to contact them on 0845 090 1234 quoting incident number 385.