TWO swans have been shot and killed by a Hampshire river in a “heinous act”.

The swans were found on the River Arle in Alresford with initial concerns about avian influenza outbreaks.

However, it has now been confirmed that the swans were shot with an air weapon on Monday.

They were found by HART Wildlife Rescue, an animal hospital in Medstead.

People have been expressing their heartbreak at the news on social media.

Paul Michael Reynolds, HART Wildlife Hospital manager, said: "We reported yesterday about two dead swans being found near the eel house on the River Arle in Alresford.

“The initial concern was that avian influenza could be responsible, sadly it was confirmed yesterday by Swan Support who kindly removed the bodies for testing that the pair of swans had been brutally killed with an air weapon.

“They were a male and female pair. Each swan with multiple pellets in their head and neck. We were also called to two other injured birds, a wood pigeon and a mallard all within very close proximity and also on the river footpath.

“Hampshire Constabulary are involved and if you have any evidence or information about these crimes then please call 101 with the reference number: 20220502-1468.

"This is a heinous act which we are sure no one would expect to see in Alresford, a village famous for its wonderful waterfowl! Those responsible should be held to account."

Hampshire Constabulary have been asked for a comment.

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