A SWAN has been killed as ducklings and other wild birds were shot at by teenagers with catapults. 

The birds were targeted by a group of young people, who police say they believed to be aged between 12 and 14, in a number of incidents involving wild birds in Hart and Rushmoor. 

Hampshire Constabulary said that between Wednesday, April 12 and Saturday, May 13, they received four reports of groups of young people intentionally harming wild birds. 

These were: 

  • At 3.09pm on Wednesday, April 12, they received a report that a dead swan had been located at Swan Lake, close to Derby Green Lane in Yateley, along with a destroyed nest. The discovery was made shortly after two young people were seen to leave the area with a catapult.
  • At around 3pm on Saturday, April 22, it was reported that three boys aged approximately 14 or 15 were seen firing catapults at ducklings at Yateley Green pond. The boys reportedly had a dog with them, described as an Alsatian-type dog.
  • At 5.01pm on Wednesday, May 10, police received a report of a group of six young people firing catapults towards geese at a pond in Aldershot Park, close to Guildford Road in Aldershot.
  • At 4.03pm on Saturday, May 13, police received a report of a group of young people firing catapults and BB guns towards people and birds in the Queensmead area of Farnborough. Officers attended and located three boys and two girls who were acting suspiciously. Officers stopped and searched the group, who were aged between 12 and 14. During the searches, officers located and seized three catapults and a quantity of nuts and stones. Enquiries are ongoing.

Police Constable Lee Stanbrook from Hart and Rushmoor’s Country Watch team said: “We appreciate incidents of this nature have a huge impact on local communities and we want to reassure people that we are taking each of these reports seriously.

“Intentionally harming defenceless birds and wildlife is shocking and it simply won't be tolerated.

“Whilst these incidents are not being linked,  we are carrying out enquiries into each and we are keen to hear from anyone who witnessed anything or has any information that may help us identify those involved.

“We would like to take this opportunity to remind people that it is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to kill, harm, or take a wild bird. It is also an offence to take, damage or destroy the nest of a wild bird.

"Anyone found to have done so faces an unlimited fine and/or up to six months in jail.”

If you have any information about any of these incidents, call police on 101 quoting reference 44230188337. Or you can submit information online via our website at https://www.hampshire.police.uk/.

Alternatively people can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at https://crimestoppers-uk.org/.