PROTESTORS took to the canal in a bid to save the Middlewich swans.

An army of animal lovers ,including town mayor Paul Edwards, gathered on the Trent and Mersey Canal in Booth Lane on Thursday to protest against the authorities’ failure to erect a fence along the canal to keep the majestic birds off the road.

Led by wild animal enthusiast Lena Porter the demonstrators joined hands and formed a human chain along the canal.

Lena, who works at Lower Moss Wood Animal Sanctuary in Knutsford, said: “We are not just going to forget about the swans, we will not go away until something is done about it.”

Already two swans have been killed and one injured after being hit by cars and just last week four of the birds were wandering down the road.

Cheshire County Council has said it will erect warning signs on the road in the future, but would not pay for a fence to be built, as it did not own the land.

A spokesman said: “We are in the process of looking at putting up signs.

“We do not have a date yet, but it is something that is in the pipeline.”

British Waterways has said it would fund a fence, but also denied ownership of the land.

A spokesman said: “The land upon which the swans congregate behind the bus stop does not belong to British Waterways.

“We did offer to contribute to the construction of a fence and gate arrangement along this section to deter them from wandering into the road but this has not been taken up.”

Lena added: “By the time they have all finished talking about what they will do another 10 swans will have been killed.”

At the weekend residents erected a temporary fence along the canal after Lewin Street builder’s merchant The Build Centre donated 50 metres of plastic fencing and 20 posts.

Resident Dave Bridle said the fence was working, but they needed a more permanent solution.

“I go along there every day and for the first time no swans crossed the road,” he said.

Town Mayor Paul Edwards said he thought reducing the speed limit from 40mph to 30mph would help protect the birds.

“The town council is supporting the issue, but we believe that first the speed limit should be reduced on that road,” he said.

“If this protest highlights the problem that we are trying to find a solution for then it will all be worthwhile.”

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