Jailbird: Three officers and a riot van tackle a roaming swan
A police force condemned as heavy handed for shooting dead an escaped cow is facing criticism again, after sending three officers, a patrol car and a riot van to tackle a lost swan.Police rushed to the scene to deal with the errant swan, which was spotted wandering along a road near student accomodation in Lincoln.
Fearing it may disrupt traffic, two PCSOs in a patrol car and an officer in a riot van attended the scene to find the bird wandering in the carpark.
Witnesses reported seeing them attempt to coax the swan to a more appropriate home for around half an hour, before eventually snaring it with a sheet and bundling it carefully into the back of the van.
It has since been returned to a nearby river, where it is said to be unharmed.
Baffled bystanders have now said they had "no idea" why police became involved in the operation, claiming the bird seemed "perfectly happy" where it was.
A spokesman for the police said they had received a call about the injured swan obstructing traffic and insisted “action was needed”.
Last month, the same force used a police marksman to shoot dead a cow that had escaped from a field near a school. An initial shot towards the "aggressive" cow was fired from the roof of a white van parked near to the children’s school but missed.
Yesterday, local residents criticised Lincolnshire Police's decision to spend resources - estimated to be around £600 - on snaring the bird, calling it a "huge over reaction."
Matthew Knott, 18, a mechanical engineering student at Lincoln University, photographed the moment officers arrived in high visibility jackets to capture the bird.
He said: "I was looking out of my window at around 1pm and I saw something that looked like a bird. Then a police car pulled up and two female PCSOs got out and sort of stared at the swan, it reared its head up so I saw it was a swan.
"A little while later a police riot van turned up and a male officer got out and started trying to shoo the swan to the open back of the van, which was never going to work.
"Eventually after about half-an-hour they got a sheet thing from the back of the van and caught it in that.
"It seemed like a bit of an over reaction, I have no idea how the police ended up being involved.
"We do sometimes get swans on our site, they get picked up by drunk students, but it's normally just one RSPCA guy who comes to deal with it but never three police officers.
"It was a huge over reaction, the swan wasn't doing any harm, it seemed perfectly happy sitting there not going near anyone."
James Phillips, 34, who lives nearby, said he feared a serious crime had occured when he saw officers attending the scene.
He said: "I thought someone must have been attacked or something, when a marked car and van went into the accommodation.
"Then I saw they weren't rushing out of the car so went to look what was going on and there they were, staring at this swan. They didn't seem to know what to do with it really, they must have spent an hour hunting it down.
"It wasn't doing anyone any harm and I wonder what crimes might have taken place while they were messing around with a swan."
A spokeswoman for Lincolnshire Police confirmed the swan was captured 21 minutes after the first officer arrived on the scene.
“Police were sent to this incident because the swan was in the road and causing a potential danger to traffic and the estimated time for RSPCA attendance was two hours," she said.
"The swan was initially reported to be injured so potentially needed transporting and this obviously can’t be done in a car. These resources were available at the time and so no significant additional costs are incurred.”