Investigation as swan drowns after being trapped in suspected illegal fishing net at Norfolk lake
A swan is believed to have drowned after becoming trapped in illegal poaching netting left in a lake close to the West Norfolk border.
A second bird had to be freed from the net by firefighters after being spotted in distress at Lynford Lake, Mundford.
And police say they are increasing patrols in the area, as a multi-agency investigation into the incident continues.
RSPCA officials this afternoon issued an appeal for information about the incident, which is said to have happened on March 3.
The charity says two swans were seen in the netting by members of the public. One of the birds appeared to be dragging the other, which was already dead.
The uninjured swan was released from the water after a check, along with two fish which had also become trapped in the netting, which officers believe were there to catch fish illegally.
Inspector Jon Knight, of the RSPCA, said: “It is really upsetting that another swan has likely died as a result of this netting in the water - especially given that it should never have been there.
“The netting was of some considerable size and was extremely heavy - which is why the poor swans could not escape.”
The lake is on land owned by Forestry England. Mr Knight said they had advised him the net was not theirs and the case has been reported to the police and the Environment Agency.
A Forestry England spokesman said it supported the inquiry and was saddened by the “needless” death.
PC Les Maguire, of Norfolk Police, said: “The area of Lynford Lakes is protected under the SSSI scheme (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and, as such, no genuine organisations would use nets like these for any purpose.
“We suspect the nets have been placed there in efforts to illegally poach fish.
“We will be increasing our patrols in the area and would appeal to anyone with information to come forward to help identify and trace those responsible.
“I also urge members of public using the area to be vigilant to suspicious activity and nets like these being left in the area.”
An Environment Agency spokesman added: “If members of the public have any information on who might be responsible for the large net that was discovered at Lynford Lake we urge them to come forward and tell us. Even the smallest bit of information could help our investigations.
“Anyone caught with an illegal net will be prosecuted and could face a substantial fine or a custodial sentence.”
Anyone with information can contact Norfolk Police’s Thetford Safer Neighbourhood Team via the non-emergency 101 number, the RSPCA’s inspector appeal line on 0300 1238018 or the Environment Agency’s incident hotline on 0800 807060.