A BUZZARD was freed by the fire service after becoming trapped in a fishing line several feet above the water in Swindon.

The worrying incident at Aubrey Gardens in Cheney Manor, has prompted the RSPCA to warn the public of the dangers of leaving tackle discarded in a wildlife area.

Chris James, an animal collection officer for the charity, rescued the bird of prey. It was hanging by its wing from a tree.

He said: “Sadly, this buzzard had become tangled in fishing line, and was caught by the wing from a branch.

“It would have been impossible for the bird to get free without assistance so with help from the fire and rescue service, the bird was brought safely down and taken to Oak and Furrows Wildlife Rescue Centre for treatment before release.

“This is a reminder of how damaging discarded fishing litter can be for wildlife.

“The majority of anglers do dispose of their litter properly and it is frustrating that those who don’t possibly don’t realise how dangerous it is to animals.

“As can be seen here with this buzzard, discarded line in particular is a terrible hazard for wildlife, particularly as it can be almost invisible.”

Those who enjoy fishing are being reminded to make use of the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme, which aims to dispose of waste tackle and lines.

Recycling points can be located on the ANLRS website. Waste can also be posted to the organisation's address.

RSPCA anti-litter campaign manager Holly Barber said: “We strongly urge those who enjoy fishing to be extra cautious to make sure nothing is left behind.

“Most anglers are very responsible when disposing of their litter, but it only takes one careless person to endanger the life of an animal.

“If members of the public see discarded litter we would encourage them to pick it up and dispose of it safely. Their action could save an animal’s life.”

Some of the tips for fishers include being aware of the surrounding trees as a discarded line in the foliage will cause problems for the wildlife.

When it comes to bait, the RSPCA warns not to leave bait unattended and to use a bait box.

The charity received more than 3,000 calls about animals being affected by angling litter in 2018.

These incidents included birds swallowing fish hooks as well as entanglements in fishing line, which often leads to death.

Water birds were the most affected species, with the highest amount of calls being about swans followed by geese, ducks and gulls.

The RSPCA is also promoting the use of the ANLRS’s Take 5 campaign.

This hopes to inspire anglers to take five items of rubbish – or five minutes to clear rubbish – in order to help the local environment.