Wildlife enthusiasts have condemned the killing of two birds at a popular beauty spot where people have been seen with air rifles.
A female mallard duck and a male mute swan are both believed to have been shot with different weapons within the last week at Amberswood between Ince and Hindley.
I feel very angry. Killing defenceless birds, deer or whatever the creature is just goes to show how low and sick some people areGraham Workman
Disgusted nature lovers found the duck, which appeared to have been killed by a bolt from a crossbow. The swan’s body was then found floating lifeless in a pond at the weekend. Eagle-eyed visitors suggested another bird in the area had signs of pellet wounds.
The attacks come just a few short weeks after the remains of a dead roe deer were discovered in the stream at nearby Borsdane Brook in Hindley and the remains of two other animals were dumped in a litter bin at Haigh Country Park.
Wildlife enthusiasts spoke of their shock and horror at the spate of attacks and also said people with air guns had been seen on Amberswood.
However, the authorities have warned anyone out walking they should never confront anyone who is armed but should instead ring the police.
One Wigan nature enthusiast who saw the dead birds said: “I feel very angry. Killing defenceless birds, deer or whatever the creature is just goes to show how low and sick some people are.
“Cruelty against animals just makes my blood boil. These people have to be stopped. If they miss whatever they are aiming at it is possible for them to hit someone’s dog or even a person.
“I rode right past the spot where the duck was an hour and a half before and there was nothing to see. When I was riding back home it was at the side of the path close to two ponds that are joined together.
“I was at Amberswood again on the Saturday morning and saw to my horror the female adult mute swan had been killed and its body just left in the water to rot.
“I’ve seen people carrying air rifles and I’ve spoken to two other people who have seen them as well.
“These trigger-happy people have to be caught. They are ruining everything good about the area.”
Graham Workman, biodiversity officer for Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles, said he hoped police will use the full range of its powers against whoever is responsible for the attacks.
Mr Workman said: “If you see anyone with guns do not approach them, just call the police. Shooting on public land without any permission or responsibility is totally illegal. All birds, whether they are swans or magpies, are protected by law.
“The police will prosecute and we fully support any they are able to take up.”
Any suspicious activity should be reported to police on the non-emergency number 101 or to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.