An investigation has been launched after a driver allegedly ran over a baby swan and killed it in front of horrified onlookers, before driving off laughing, a RSPCA spokesman said.
The RSPCA has launched the investigation into the apparent intentional killing of the juvenile swan in Westham on Saturday (5 October).
Shocked witnesses claim they saw a blue or brown Toyota or Mitsubishi pickup truck stop next to the pond on the High Street at 12.45pm on Saturday afternoon, because a large cygnet was in the road.
The driver sounded his horn at least twice but when the swan didn’t move, the car appeared to deliberately drive over the cygnet - killing it, a RSPCA spokesman said.
Witnesses claim the men in the car were heard laughing loudly immediately after killing the cygnet
RSPCA inspector Tony Woodley said many people including children were feeding the ducks at the time of the incident and were very upset by what they saw.
He said: “Local people have been sickened by the incident.
“This happened in full view of several families feeding the ducks - children were left in tears and there is still blood on the road where it happened today.
“I am keen to hear from anyone who has any information regarding this incident to call me immediately on the RSPCA inspector appeal line on 0300 123 8018.”
The occupants of the vehicle are described as between 50-60yrs old, white, male and wearing checked shirts.
The driver was wearing a flat cap.
To help the RSPCA investigate cases like this text HELP to 78866 to give £3 (texts costs £3 +one standard network rate message.
Mute Swans are protected as they are property of the Queen.
And as native wild birds, all swans enjoy statutory protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is an offence to intentionally injure, take or kill a wild swan.
A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “Police were called shortly after 1pm on Saturday 5 October over reports that a swan had been deliberately run down and killed by the driver of a blue van.
“The incident happened close to the pond outside Westham Village Hall in Westham. The incident is being investigated.”
Anyone with information should call Sussex Police on 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.