Treasonous yobs face being charged with criminal damage after shooting dead a swan owned by The Queen.
The bird, together with two mallard ducks and seven moorhens, was shot on Saturday on the stretch of canal between Walnut Tree Meadow and the Chestnut Road Bridge.
All swans living in open water in Britain belong to the Queen, and if caught the shooters could face up to ten years in prison.
The swan is thought to be part of a well-known family of birds which have nested on the canal for years.
Locals say that a pair of adult birds hatched seven cygnets this year, and the family frequently blocked the path for walkers.
One angry resident said: “I regularly see the swans when I cycle down there, they have been nesting there for years.
“There are some sick people in this world, it’s outrageous.
“These vandals need to be brought to justice for something that is totally uneccessary and cruel.”
Staff from the St Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital in Haddenham visited the scene this afternoon, together with Dean Kingham, of Thames Valley Police’s wildlife crime division.
The team hoped to gather more evidence, and recover as many of the dead birds as possible.
One of the dead moorhens has been X-rayed and found to have been shot with air rifle pellets.
The shootings are thought to have taken place between 8am and 1pm, but a hunting party spotted close to the scene have been discounted as suspects according to reports.
PC Kingham said: “I am keeping an open mind as to how the birds died, however I am appealing for anyone with any information about this incident to contact police.
“I know there was a group of ramblers in the area at the time and it is a route popular with dog walkers so I would appeal for anyone who saw anything which could help the investigation to come forward.”
Anyone with information can contact PC Kingham by calling 101