A swan was shot dead and its body left by the side of a canal after a horrible attack.
Images captured by a passer-by showed the dead bird by the water side near to Common Lane in Leigh.
The pictures were taken by Karen Bissell who told the Post she was left “really upset” after coming across the sad scene during a morning walk.
Posting on social media, her daughter Susan Kearsley wrote: “My parents were walking along the canal today and saw a poor swan that had been shot!
Apparently by kids the night before according to the other dog walkers.
“Either way some sick twisted individuals have shot a poor beautiful defenceless animal. I am so angry and appalled right now!”
The post prompted a strong response from residents who blasted the unknown culprits for the appalling act.
One Facebook user, Cat Jameson, said: “Hope they catch them, jail time for someone. Sickening!”
Andy Barrington added: “One of the highlights of my day is looking out the window seeing the swans and cygnets.”
The RSPCA condemned the callous act, calling it “a shocking incident”.
A spokesman said: “We have received reports of a swan shot with an air rifle along the canal near Common Lane in Leigh last week.
“Unfortunately, the RSPCA was advised by police who were at the scene that the swan had already died and there was no further information which could help an investigation.
“This is a shocking incident which would have been very distressing for anyone who saw it. It is very concerning to think that people take pleasure in causing harm to these beautiful and defenceless birds.
“These are deliberate acts of cruelty and we would appeal to people’s consciences not to commit these offences.
“If anyone has any information about this incident, please contact the RSPCA appeal line in strictest confidence on 0300 123 8018.”
Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 it is illegal to take, injure or kill wild birds or interfere with their nest or eggs, unless under licence.
The maximum penalty, if found guilty, is six months in prison and/or a £5,000 fine.