RESIDENTS say 12 swans have been savaged by dogs on the Bridgewater Canal in Runcorn.

Campaigners are now calling for signs to be erected asking owners to keep dogs on leads near the waterway.

Retired chauffeur Alan Jones, aged 69, is now currently trying to protect two swans and their seven cygnets.

He says they are constantly being chased, harrassed and attacked by dogs.

Alan, from Seaford Close, near Windmill Hill, said: “Swans have nested here for 50 years but this problem has got worse over the past 18 months.

“We have lost 12 swans. They have been killed by dogs.

“When these houses were first built there were signs saying dogs must be kept on leads but they have been removed.”

He said he constantly sees dogs chasing swans, children throwing balls at the birds and youths on motorbikes riding along the towpath.

Mr Jones said:”There used to be a farmhouse and the farmer put a slope in for horses to drink. The swans have used that area since then to build their home.

“Owners wonder why the male swan goes for their dogs. He is only trying to protect his young.”

Mike Webb, Bridgewater Canal manager at Peel, who owns the waterway, said: ”We are aware of the swan nest in the area of the Bridgewater Canal in Runcorn.

“Unfortunately the swan nest is not on the towpath side of the canal where we are landowners and therefore we cannot take any action with regards to fencing or signage."