A MAN who shot a swan because he thought it was goose is believed to be the first person in England to be prosecuted for using illegal lead shot on wildfowl.
Simon Quince, aged 36, from Harthills, Barnsley, was fined £445 for shooting the swan and another £100 for using the wrong type of shot.
The electrician appeared at Harrogate Magistrates’ Court and admitted killing the swan near Knaresborough last December.
An investigation found he had been using illegal shotgun cartridges.
North Yorkshire Police and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds found that Quince been using gun cartridges that contained lead shot.
The court heard Quince was a member of a shooting party on a freezing cold, but clear, day last winter.
He noticed four birds flying overhead and, thinking that they were geese, he opened fire.
One of the birds came crashing down with serious injuries, at which point Quince realised he had shot a swan which are protected by law.
The bird was so badly injured it later had to be put down by a local vet.
It has been against the law to use lead shot on wildfowl shoots in England since 1999.
Lead is banned because it can easily find its way into the food chain of foraging birds on wetlands.