Three arrested over swan shootings
Three men have been arrested and bailed in connection with the slaughter of dozens of swans.
Eight dead swans, shot in the head with airgun pellets, were found in a field outside Blackford in the Wedmore area of Somerset.
Further carcasses were found in nearby Westham and Godney.
Wildlife charity Secret World described finding the dead birds as "one of the worst incidents" it had ever attended. The charity believes the birds all died within a three-week period.
A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said: "Police arrested three men - aged 34, 37 and 45 - on suspicion of criminal damage in relation to the shooting of swans in Somerset. The arrests follow an investigation by the RSPCA and the police into the shootings of an unconfirmed number of swans over a three-week period.
"The three men have been released on police bail pending further inquiries."
The arrests follow an appeal by Secret World rescue centre in East Huntspill, which had been caring for the only surviving swan of the initial attack.
Last week, best-selling author Sir Terry Pratchett, of Salisbury, Wiltshire, offered £10,000 to catch those responsible.
His pledge was added to a reward fund which now stands at more than £26,000, with the rest of the cash coming from members of the public. The money will be offered to anyone who comes forward with information that leads to a successful prosecution.
Sir Terry, 62, said: "I was absolutely incensed. Nobody understands why this is happening. I'm at a loss, but I certainly don't think someone should be walking around shooting swans. I just don't understand the mentality."