A police investigation was underway after the butchered carcasses of SIX mute swans were found on the banks of a river.
The grim discovery was made by members of the public on the banks of Dovecote fishing lake at Willington gravel pits near Bedford on Saturday.
But all traces of the remains had mysteriously vanished by dawn on Sunday leaving no clue to their disappearance.
Last month it emerged that hungry migrants in neighbouring Cambridgeshire could be responsible for a spate of swan attacks on Peterborough’s River Nene.
Mark Thomas, Investigations Officer at the RSPB is currently looking into the Bedfordshire incident which he described as ”savage”.
A number of fishermen and members of the public were in the popular location at the time, which is part of Bedford River Valley Park, owned by the Marston Vale Trust.
He said: ”This is a horrific incident that is not only illegal, but savage.
”We will make every effort to help Bedfordshire Police in this investigation.
”If anyone was in the area at the time and saw something that may be of help, I urge you to get in touch.”
Swans are under royal protection and killing or injuring a bird carries a fine of up to £5,000 and or six months in prison.
The elegant birds belong to the Crown under an ancient charter and until 1998 killing one was classed as treason.
A spokeswoman for Bedfordshire Police said the matter was being investigated by officers from the RSPB.
She said: ”The initial report came via the RSPB who asked police to appeal for witnesses.
”Police are still piecing together what happened and we are assisting the RSPB with whatever they need.”
Anyone with information regarding the incident should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or Detective Sergeant Gary Maxey of Bedford CID on 01234 275254