11th Aug, 2020

Former mayor says he was assaulted while rescuing swan

Laura Kearns 26th Jun, 2020

A FORMER Stratford mayor says he was assaulted while rescuing an injured swan.

Cyril Bennis has rescued swans in the town since the 1980s, but says he has been increasingly subject to abuse and threats of violence.

The most recent incident happened at around 8pm on Monday June 22 while Mr Bennis was carrying an injured swan along Waterside.

He says he was attacked by a man with a dog who grabbed his bike.

Mr Bennis said: “He was shouting that I had been told to leave the swans alone, being verbally and physically aggressive, and was being encouraged by the rest of the group.

“It has come to the point where I am constantly looking over my shoulder to watch out for my safety, as I am very worried that this harassment could become much more violent.

“Over time I have been told that they will throw me in the river, or that they will kill me.

“I do not want this to become a no-go area for rescuing wildlife, however given the continuous personal threats to me I am having to reconsider.”

Police said they are investigating the incident.

And Mr Bennis thanked officers for their help and hoped they will step up patrols in the area.

He added: “I would like to thank the police for their support and efficient responses at previous times, and especially this incident.

I hope they will become more proactive in policing this area, thereby assuring myself and all others who enjoy this riverside public area in the theatre gardens of their personal safety.”

Anyone with information about the incident on June 22 is asked to call police on 101.

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