An angler with a business in Dartford has caught a swan-killer redhanded as the man bungled the headless creature into a rucksack.
Hasan Fidan, 46, beheaded the swan and stuffed its decapitated corpse into a bag at the scenic 18-acre Bennett's Lake in Hildenbough.
It is believed the creature was later chopped up and frozen at Fidan’s home in Tonbridge.
Fidan was arrested after Bob Morris handed a photo to cops of Fidan zipping up his on March 18 this year.
Mr Morris, who runs Bob Morris Custom Rods at the Swan Business Park in Sandpit Road, Dartford, said he watched in horror as the thug killed the bird.
The 64-year-old said: "He grabbed the swan and sat down on it and then took out a knife and cut its head off.
"I was stunned - I couldn't believe what I was seeing."
"I tried to take his rucksack from him, but he grabbed it and ran off."
Mr Morris, who is a volunteer bailiff, took a photo as Fidan stuffed the swan's body into his rucksack.
The picture of the man, who is of eastern European origin, was circulated on Twitter and Facebook.
Thanks to the snap, police soon discovered the swan killer's identity and tracked him down to his home in Tonbridge 10 days after the incident.
Police confirmed the photo taken by Mr Morris was used to identify the swan-killer when he was spotted at another lake on March 28.
Mr Morris - whose book Carping Aside was published last year - said police had discovered the swan cut up into portions in a freezer at Fidan’s home.
He said: "It's horrific really - swans and carp need to be protected, as they are being caught and eaten more and more these days."
Angler Bob Morris
Local wildlife lover Steve Robinson and Kent 999s both tweeted Mr Morris’s photo of the crook, showing him wearing a red jacket as he zips up his red and black rucksack with the dead swan inside by the side of the lake.
Mr Robinson said at the time: "This b***ard is killing swans in the Tonbridge area, here he is after putting one in his bag."
Mr Robinson said Fidan hacked off the swan's head so it would fit into his rucksack, but ran off when confronted by angry anglers.
At Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (May 27), Fidan was handed a £110 fine, with £85 in court costs and a £20 victim surcharge - a total of £215 - after pleading guilty to killing a wild bird.
Is killing a swan treason?
The legend goes all swans are the property of the Queen, and killing one is an act of treason (a punishment which traditionally carried the death penalty).
However the Law Commission has said this is “not quite” the case.
Since the 12th century, the Crown has held the right to ownership over all wild, unmarked mute swans in open water.
However, the Queen only exercises this right over parts of the Thames and its tributaries.
The responsibility is shared with the Vintners’ Company and the Dyers’ Company (livery companies of the City of London).
The monarchy's swans were marked by a royal Swan Marker, a job still in existence, but now involves advising organisations on swan welfare.
The Law Commission said in a briefing note last year: “Every year, the Swan Upping ceremony is carried out by the Crown and the companies to record and mark all the swans in the area.
“Killing one of the Queen’s mute swans may be unlawful, but it has never been an act of treason.
“Furthermore, tame swans and all other varieties of wild swan (eg whooper and Bewick’s swans) are free.”