Investigation launched after swan killed by illegal fishing net

A swan drowned after being caught in a large fishing net in Thetford, prompting an investigation by the RSPCA. 

A swan drowned after being caught in a large fishing net in Thetford, prompting an investigation by the RSPCA. - Credit: RSPCA

The RSPCA is investigating after a swan drowned having got stuck in a large fishing net believed to have been set by poachers.

Rescuers were called to help two swans who had become caught in the net in Thetford. 

The swans were spotted on March 3 by concerned members of the public at Lynford Lake, Mundford. 

The birds wer in the middle of the lake when one appeared entangled and distressed as it was dragging a second swan along in the netting. 

A swan drowned after being caught in a large fishing net in Thetford, prompting an investigation by the RSPCA. 

A swan drowned after being caught in a large fishing net in Thetford, prompting an investigation by the RSPCA. - Credit: RSPCA

Firefighters from Norfolk Fire and Rescue were called to attend and used their water rescue boat to reach them. 


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The first swan was checked for injuries and was then released back on the water.  

But the second swan is thought to have drowned after becoming caught in the netting, believed to have been placed in the water to illegally catch fish. 

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RSPCA Inspector Jon Knight, who is investigating the incident, said: “We are grateful to the firefighters for rescuing this poor swan as this bird would never have been able to get free from the netting by themselves.  

“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.  

“Two large fish had also been caught in the netting and were released.  

“I informed Forestry England and they stated that the netting was not theirs so I believe it’s safe to say that it would have been put in the lake illegally.  

“I have also reported the incident to the police and the Environment Agency.  

“I am investigating this incident and would urge anyone who has any information to contact me on the RSPCA inspector appeal line in confidence on 0300 123 8018 or call the police.”  

PC Les Maguire added: “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."

Anyone with information should call Thetford Safer Neighbourhood Team on 101 or report online at www.norfolk.police.uk. 


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