FIVE dead birds were found at a park in Oxford including two with their heads cut off.

Swan Support, a swan rescue centre treating and caring for sick and injured swans, was called to Rivermead Nature Park by Thames Valley Police to what may have been a ‘suspicious act of cruelty’ on Sunday afternoon.

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The rescue team found two dead ducks in the water with their heads cut off - which were laid next to their bodies - as well as three ducks stacked ‘neatly’ together under a tree with a disposable glove nearby.

Wendy Hermon, the operations director at Swan Support said: “This is a disgusting act of cruelty. To have five ducks killed just leaves me without words.”

Swan Group said is often receives calls about shootings and dog attacks but something of this nature is uncommon.

Ms Hermon, who has been in contact with the police, said the police is taking the attack very seriously.

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Animal cruelty punishments have increased in recent years.

The maximum sentence available for cases heard in Magistrates Courts have increased from six to twelve months.

The maximum fine has risen from £5,000 to £20,000 and in Crown Courts, where more serious cases are heard, the maximum sentence for animal cruelty has increased from two to five years.

Last month, a horse died after a brutal attack by a horse on Port Meadow. The dog bit and and held onto the horse whilst it tried to shake the dog off. The horse died as a result of shock and secondary infection.