A swan was shot in the head in one of a series of sickening attacks on the birds.

The swan was hit in Eastbourne while another was thought to have been kicked by children. Another was killed by a dog at Hove Lagoon.

Wildlife rescuers were called out to the birds over the weekend.

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) said they were infuriated by the attacks.

On Saturday, Trevor Weeks, founder of the rescue service, was called to Langney Pond in Eastbourne because a swan had become trapped in the bushes.

Residents reported that children were trying to kick the swan. It was freed and relocated. While he was releasing the swan at Princes Park in Eastbourne, Mr Weeks spotted a swan with a swelling on the side of its head.

Five rescuers sailed on a small inflatable boat, while Mr Weeks waded out wearing a dry suit.

The others rescuers helped from the bank and the swan was cornered by the inlet and eventually caught. Mr Weeks said: "On examining the swan there was a clear entry and exit wound so we decided to rush the swan to the vets for further assessment.

"At the vets an X-ray revealed damage to the swan's head so it was placed on a drip for the night and taken up to the National Swan Sanctuary at Shepperton in Surrey for specialist veterinary care."

On Sunday morning the WRAS was called to a swan which had been run over in Kingsway, in Hove, near Hove Lagoon.

Sussex Police looked after the swan, saving it from further injury until WRAS Rescuer Tony Neads arrived. It was taken to the vets for emergency treatment.

Later that day, Mr Weeks attended another swan at Hove Lagoon which had collapsed and was lethargic and dribbling.

He caught the swan with the help of an RSPCA animal collection officer and examined it.

The swan was rushed to the vets but died shortly after arrival. An examination showed it had been attacked by a dog.

Mr Weeks said: "This is the third swan at Hove Lagoon which WRAS has had to rescue in the last few years as a result of the lagoon being drained and dog being able to jump in and chase after and attack the swans.

"It is cruel to let your dog cause suffering in this way. Personally, I wish the swans did not stay at the lagoon as it is not safe for them but people feed them and they now won't fly off as a result when the lagoon is drained.

"However, the blame for this swan being killed has to lay squarely with the dog owner. If you can't control your dog then it should not be off the lead."

So far this year, WRAS has been called out to eight cats, three dogs, five casualties entangled or trapped in netting and other materials like fishing line, one bird stabbed by a human, three shootings, 11 road accidents, more than 100 calls to oiled birds and more than 100 other casualties.