A swan has been found decapitated in Thamesmead as a team of wildlife activists look to step up their patrols.

Towards the end of 2017 several birds were found mutilated and decapitated near Thamesmead lakes sparking the creation of Swan Patrol - a team of volunteers who patrol the area.

However, for the first time this year, another swan has been found killed.

Paul West, 49, one of the organisers behind Swan Patrol, told News Shopper the bird's body was found near Southmere Lake.

He said: "This was an act of barbaric cruelty. The swan was found near some railings, decapitated.

"This was a cygnet yearling, a year old. It has been quiet since we started the patrols, and we are trying our best during these winter nights but we can't be out 24/7.

"You can tell by looking at the body that it wasn't anything to do with another animal."

This swan, found at about 8am on Monday (February 19), is the latest in a spate of killings that started in December.

So far, it is believed that seven swans and a goose have been killed around the lakes.

Mr West added that with mating season approaching the Swan Patrol is looking to step up the patrols.

All mute swans are owned by the Queen under prerogative right - except for small numbers of marked birds on the River Thames whose ownership has been conferred to City of London livery companies.

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act it is illegal to harm or kill a swan, with offenders facing six months’ jail.

Mr West said the RSPCA and police were contacted, and we have approached both for comment.