An intrepid swan's break for freedom almost ended in tragedy this morning as bobbies on the beat intervened to save the bewildered bird. 

It is believed there are now only six swans-a-swimming in the Worcester College lake after one swan made it out of the grounds and into Beaumont Street. 

The elusive bird was hit by a vehicle and lay motionless on the side of the road until city council streetscene supervisor Steve Thomas came to the rescue. 

Police officers also gathered at the scene as the RSPCA deferred the call to the specialist Swan Support Unit.

The crack team of poultry police utilised a 'swan harness' to hoise the bird into the swan ambulance and off to see a vet. 

Mr Thomas said: "One of my colleagues called me about it at around 8am and I got here and saw the swan lying on the pavement.

"I think it had been hit by a car as it wasn't moving.

"I stayed with it for about an hour in the end - I named it Chris, as it's so close to Christmas."

PCSO Ryan Tappin said: "We believe it's from Worcester College and it looks as if it was hit by a car.

"It's been taken to the vet to be checked over and will then hopefully be returned to the college lake."