A SWAN found in the Borders with hooks attached to its foot and leg is believed to have been left in agony for a number of days.

The Scottish SPCA is urging fishing enthusiasts to ensure they clear away all lines and tackle after rescuing the injured male at Cauldshiels Loch, near Melrose.

One hook which had become embedded under the swan's foot was successfully taken out by Animal Rescue Officer Mairi Stewart, while a second barbed hook in his leg had to be removed by a vet.

She explanied: "This poor swan had to be separated from his partner and eggs but, thankfully, we were able to remove the hooks safely and return him back to the loch within an hour.

"We think he'd had these hooks attached to him for a few days and this would have been causing him a lot of pain and discomfort."

But she added: "This isn't the first time the poor swans on this loch have been injured by fishing tackle litter. Unfortunately, it happens year on year.

"Although the majority of fishing enthusiast are responsible and clear away their lines and tackle after use, sadly, there is a minority who do not.

"General rubbish such as glass, cans and plastic also pose a significant risk to the swans so we are appealing to members of the public to consider the welfare of the wildlife in the area and clear up after themselves."

Anyone who discovers an injured or distressed animal should call the Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999.