A cygnet who should be cruising along the river in Haverfordwest with his family is lucky to be alive after the thoughtless action of a fisherman.

The young bird had to undergo an operation to remove a length of tangled fishing wire from his beak and gullet.

And if his plight had not been spotted, he would have become caught in undergrowth by the line and drowned on the rising tide - a fate which was met by his brother the week before.

"Please can people who are going fishing just think of the damage they can do to wildlife by carelessly throwing their old lines and hooks away," said the swan's rescuer, Maria Evans.

Following a call from a member of the public to the RSPCA, Maria was asked to go the aid of the four-month-old cygnet, who had been spotted in difficulties in the water opposite the Bristol Trader.

"The fishing line, with a hook and weight, was wrapped eight times around his lower beak and had been there so long that skin was actually growing over it," said Maria.

She took the cygnet to Fenton Veterinary Practice, where vet Billa Schleicher freed the line and then pulled out a further 10 inches from the bird's gullet, all tangled up with weed it had been eating.

"This swan has had a lucky escape, but unfortunately, it won't be the last time this happens, whether in Haverfordwest or other parts of Pembrokeshire," said Maria, of Tinkers Hill, Amroth.