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Swans found shot dead in marshland in Graveney

By Joe Wright

Two swans were found shot dead on marshland, just days after the government announced a review of air rifle laws.

The birds, believed to have been killed by an airgun, were discovered off Monkshill Road in Graveney, near Faversham.

Emily Wraight, who lives nearby, said: "It's horrible – I'm not aware of anything like this happening around here before."

The swans were found off Monkshill Road in Graveney. Picture Instant Street View

The swans were found off Monkshill Road in Graveney. Picture: Instant Street View

Statistics released by the RSPCA reveal wild birds are the most common animals to be shot in the country, followed by cats, wild mammals, dogs and farm birds.

In past five years to June this year there have been 192 air gun incidents reported to the RSPCA in Kent.

David Bowles, RSPCA assistant director of external affairs, welcomed the government's pledge to review airgun laws.

“We have been calling for stricter regulations around owning airguns for a long time as well as better education and explanation of the law for those buying an airgun,” he said.

“Our 24-hour cruelty hotline receives hundreds of calls every year reporting airgun attacks on animals.

"Animals can suffer horrendous injuries and often die as a result of airgun attacks" - David Bowles

“Last year, we received 890 calls and this year looks set to top that and, worryingly, reach a five-year high.

“Animals can suffer horrendous injuries and often die as a result of airgun attacks and these weapons are potentially extremely dangerous for people as well.”

The current law makes it legal for those over the age of 14 to shoot an airgun unsupervised, on private land where full permission to shoot has been given.

You must be at least 18 to buy an airgun.

Minister for policing and the fire service, Nick Hurd, said: “I think that this is an appropriate time to assess whether the current controls, which are already strong, continue to be appropriate and effective.”

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