A GROUP of wild birds have been found dead alongside a canal, with police investigating the possibility they were shot by an air gun.

Between 8am and 1pm on Saturday, one mute swan, two mallards and seven moorhens were discovered dead along the disused Wendover arm of the Grand Union Canal between Wharf Road, Wendover, and Brookside, Halton.

A pellet was discovered in the body of one of the birds.

Officers said they were keeping an open mind about the deaths, but are appealing for witnesses or anyone who spotted someone with a gun in the area.

PC Dean Kingham, Wildlife Crime officer, said:“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.

“If you saw someone in the area acting suspiciously, perhaps carrying an air rifle or an air pistol, please speak to an officer.”

If you have any information please contact PC Kingham via the Thames Valley Police Enquiry Centre on 101.

If you don’t want to speak directly to the police you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org