Bird lovers were horrified when more than a dozen dead ducks appeared to have been strangled and were floating in the water at Topsham.

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Walkers made a gruesome discovery on Topsham’s Goat Walk, when they spotted more than a dozen dead ducks floating at the water’s edge.

The mallards appeared to have been strangled. As these pictures, show, some have nylon twine wrapped around their neck.

Some birds had been decapitated. However, the official cause of death remains a mystery.

A number of dead ducks bearing the same injuries were also seen further down the river at Lympstone.

A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said: “It’s very concerning that there a large number of dead birds that have been killed.”

The ducks were discovered last Friday. Passers-by called leading bird charity the RSPB, who said a clean-up team would be dispatched.

Witness Anette Soyer described the scene when she arrived at the spot where the dead birds were floating.

“A woman already at the scene was pointing out over a dozen dead mallards, some were even decapitated,” said Ms Soyer. “All of them had a blue nylon string around their neck.

“The RSPB has been notified and it was said that they would send a team to clean the waters. But a few were already taken further down the estuary by the water.

“We do not know what has happened, but it looks like they have been strangled with the blue rope.

We still hope there is a better explanation to what has happened, because the thought of somebody out there killing animals for fun is very discomforting.”

l Do you know what happened to the birds? Call the Journal on 01392 888507.

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