ANGLERS using the Kennet & Avon Canal have been urged to make sure they take home all their tackle after a swan died as a result of being caught by a fishing hook and line.

The male Mute Swan was seen swimming frantically around the Bradford on Avon Marina by concerned canal boaters on Tuesday and Wednesday last week while trying to remove the hook.

Terry Higgins, 63, who moors at the marina, said: "It was awful. He was just swimming around in circles and was obviously stressed and in a lot of pain.

"He was part of a pair that have been breeding here for many years and now his mate is calling for him. It's absolutely pitiful and sad to hear."

Local boaters tried to rescue the swan on Thursday but he was eventually caught on Friday and rushed to the RSPCA's West Hatch Wildlife Centre near Taunton in Somerset.

A RSPCA spokeswoman said: "Our veterinary staff at West Hatch Wildlife Centre took this poor swan straight into surgery after an X-ray confirmed that he had swallowed a fishing hook.

"Unfortunately, vets discovered that much of the tissue around the hook, in the oesophagus, was rotten and that we wouldn't be able to treat this so the difficult decision was made to put the bird to sleep.

"We see thousands of animals every year who have been injured by fishing litter such as hooks and line. Thankfully, we're often able to save swans like this and return them back to their mate but, sadly, sometimes the injuries are fatal. Discarded fishing litter can be incredibly dangerous for our wildlife.

"The majority of anglers do dispose of their litter properly and it is frustrating that those who don't may not realise how dangerous it is to animals.

"We'd remind fishermen and anglers to follow the Angling Trust's Take 5 campaign and make use of the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme."