SEVERAL Gloucestershire police officers have been taking lessons in swan handling.

Following a number of recent incidents reported to Gloucestershire Police involving swans getting into difficulty from Slimbridge Wetland Centre, an invitation extended to train local officers in the correct way to handle swans.

On Saturday, November 15, PCSO Mike Trebble, PCSO Mark Lifton, PC Mel Campbell, PC Andy Thompson and PC Rachel Brobyn were trained by James Lees, reserve warden at Slimbridge wetland centre, in the handling of swans.

The police learned how to deal with swans who find themselves off-patch and in a distressed state.

Two of the more troublesome swans were picked as good candidates to test the officers in a specially erected pen out of view from visitors.

Mr Lees taught officers skills including handling, carriage and eventual release of the birds.

He said: "Officers picked up the skills needed to handle the birds very quickly and demonstrated the qualities needed to effect a rescue”.