Swan family rescued from busy A256 roadside by police, RSPCA and Save Minster Marshes founder

The swan and their cygnets had ventured onto the busy A256 Photo Malcolm Kirkaldie

Kent Police officers, an RSPCA officer and passing gamekeeper George Cooper rescued two swans and their six cygnets from a busy roadside today (July 2).

The family appear to have lost their way and had gone into the A256 Ramsgate Road carriageway off Jutes Lane, by the Subway shop.

A number of cars and a motorbike had stopped after spotting the swans and cygnets in the road and help was called in.

The family were herded onto the verge which was when George, who works on the Minster marshes, drove by. The rescue was also spotted by Ramsgate photographer, and Save Minster Marshes member, Malcolm Kirkaldie who caught the action on camera.

George gives a helping hand Photo Malcolm Kirkaldie

George, who founded the Save Minster Marshes group in a bid to halt a huge National Grid convertor station development at the site, said: “I was driving home from working on the marshes when I saw the police car and RSPCA and saw them with the swans.

“I drove back round to tell them I work on the marsh if they needed somewhere to put the birds and asked if they wanted some help catching them.

“One copper had a riot shield, I think he was a bit scared, and the young RSPCA person had never rescued a swan before.

Photo Malcolm Kirkaldie

“It was the cob, the female and the six cygnets so they were quite a handful. I’d grabbed a swan and ended up with three cygnets, the RSPCA man had one, one copper had two and the other one had one.

“We bundled them into the van and took them and released them on the Minster stream at Minster Marshes.

“We think they came from Stonelees golf course, which used to be marsh, maybe it was too busy or they didn’t have enough to eat. Birds are funny, if they don’t like it somewhere they will move but there was no way for them to get from the golf course to the marshes because of the road.”

Photo Malcolm Kirkaldie

George, who says he is used to having to rescue swans and geese, said one adult bird had a British Trust Ornithology ring on so he will use the number to see where it is from.

He added: “This was a good outcome.”

A Kent Police spokesperson said: “Kent Police was called at 11.39am on Tuesday 2 July to a report of two swans and six cygnets in the road on Ebbsfleet Lane in Ramsgate, near to the Baypoint roundabout.

“Officers attended to assist with managing traffic and moving the birds to a place of safety. The swans and cygnets were shortly afterwards passed into the care of the RSPCA.”


  1. Well done to all those that helped the swans. There’s nothing more human than helping a distressed animal. We are building over their habitats, destroying their feeding grounds, it’s about time we gave something back.

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