A decapitated swan has been found at Mansbridge Reservoir Area in Southampton.

The swan had been dragged from the river and decapitated in what appeared to be a vicious attack.

The reservoir is located at the back of the Second Chance Animal Rescue (SCAR) site and was first noticed by a member of staff walking one of the rescue’s dogs.

Rose Milne, 72, from the SCAR, said: “It’s devastating – how anyone could do that to such a beautiful animal? These swans are very friendly and not at all vicious.

“They are out there on the reservoir doing nobody any harm, it's just so tragic as now the swan out there is on its own.

“I feel disgusted about what has happened – we kept an eye on the two swans in the reservoir as the last pair of swans that were there were tormented by the children that live in the area.”

Eight years ago, the Mansbridge Reservoir Area was home to two different swans. Rose said that one of the swans was stoned to death by youths.

The surviving swan was then taken in by the Swan Sanctuary to be preserved.

Since then, the Mansbridge Reservoir Area did not have any swans until two years ago.

Rose said that the new swans had healthy clutches and were well-loved by the neighbours and dog walkers that would frequent the reservoir.

She added: “Through the winter our team and the local residents have made efforts to feed and look after the swans.

“The first set of swans we had could be aggressive as they were very used to being tormented by the local kids in the area.

“I can’t believe that someone feels they can do this.

She also said she did not believe this could have been an accident involving a dog.

“A swan is more than a match for a dog – they could easily break your arm," she said. "A dog would not have the strength to drag an animal of that size out the water like that.

it is a criminal offence to intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird in the UK.

The Mansbridge Reservoir Area is owned by Southampton City Council.

Rose and her team have alerted the authority to the situation.