Farmer who killed swans with shepherd”s crook fined

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Farmer who killed swans with shepherd”s crook fined

Media captionFootage shot by HM Coastguard shows a swan being attacked

A farmer who killed two swans by battering them around the head with his shepherd”s crook has been fined £7,500.

David Thompson, 80, from Snargate in Kent, was filmed striking the birds by a coastguard helicopter crew on a training exercise. He injured a third.

He admitted intentionally killing and/or injuring mute swans and was sentenced by magistrates in Canterbury.

The RSPCA said the swans would have suffered and it would not have been a quick death.

A spokesman for the animal charity, which brought the prosecution, said the farmer had “brutally” beaten the swans.

He said the third swan “was nursed back to health… and later released back to the wild”.

Dave Grant, an RSPCA inspector, said: “There is no doubt these poor swans would have suffered – they were bashed about the head brutally and repeatedly. It would not have been a quick death.

“When we arrived one of the swans was already dead, and a second barely alive – just raising his head weakly.

“It was so sad.”

Thompson, who had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing on 15 November, was also ordered to pay court costs of £470.