Tangled swan in Hebburn at centre of RSPCA rescue mission

Tangled beak and neck of a cygnet at Hebburn nature reserve behind Mill Lane
Tangled beak and neck of a cygnet at Hebburn nature reserve behind Mill Lane

Animal lovers are trying to rescue a swan which has become snared in fishing line at a pond in South Tyneside.

The cygnet, which is entangled in the line at the pond near Mill Lane, in Hebburn, behind the Cockcrow Inn, was reported to the RSPCA by numerous passers-by earlier this week.

The line appears to be coming from the bird’s mouth and across its neck and back – although it does not appear to be in distress.

The RSPCA say its officers have made a number of attempts to capture the bird and free it.

Gwen Siegel, a lecturer at Gateshead College and a photographer, reported the swan to the organisation at about 3.30pm on Monday.

Ms Siegel, who regularly takes pictures at the beauty spot, said: “It appears to be a frequent thing here.

“There are always bits of fishing line lying around and people have been telling me this kind of thing has happened to swans there in the past.”

The RSPCA has said it is aware of the bird’s plight.

A spokeswoman said: “We are making ongoing attempts to catch the swan so that the fishing line can be removed.

“The bird appears to be in good health, although there are concerns about its ongoing welfare.

Tangled beak and neck of a cygnet at Hebburn nature reserve behind Mill Lane

Tangled beak and neck of a cygnet at Hebburn nature reserve behind Mill Lane

“Our officers are regularly attending the pond and continue to try to confine him to allow the removal of the fishing line, although we know from experience that swans can be difficult to catch.

“We continue to urge people to dispose of their litter responsibly to prevent animals suffering.”

RSPCA tips to help tackle the problem include: taking unwanted fishing line home and cutting it into small pieces before putting in the bin.

They also advise anglers to not leave bait unattended – especially if attached to a hook.

There is a website page dedicated to fishing litter.

Go to visit http://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/litter/fishing

l Anyone who spots an animal in distress is 
asked to call the RSPCA’s 24-hour helpline on 0300 1234 999.