A SWAN shot through the neck and head with a crossbow is making a miraculous recovery after receiving emergency treatment.

The critically-inured swan was found by a member of the public on the canal between Fiddlers Ferry and Widnes.

The distressed bird had also been shot several times with an air gun.

The swan is now recovering at the RSPCA bird sanctuary in Nantwich after undergoing two lots of surgery.

After the crossbolts were removed, it has had a valve inserted into its side to enable it to breathe as its neck was so badly injured.

Alan Humphreys, of Village Vets, Woolston,  initially treated the swan.

He said: "The swan was brought in as an emergency situation by the RSPCA on Wednesday evening.

"One of the cross bow bolts had gone through the trachea, causing significant difficulty in breathing.

"Had the bolt not been removed quickly the swan would have died.

"An emergency airway was put into the lung so that it could breathe with ease and the swan was then kept in an oxygen enriched environment overnight.

"The prognosis is looking good however there is a possibility of long term damage to the trachea.

"This is a particularly unpleasant attack on a defenceless animal which has lived in the local community for some time bringing pleasure to many who visit the area."

The incident was reported at 4pm on Wednesday, June 18.

PC Natalie Ford of Warrington West neighbourhood policing unit said: "By some miracle the swan was still alive and was rescued by the RSPCA.

"The swan had emergency surgery to have the crossbow bolts removed and is described as very poorly.

"We are urgently appealing for assistance from members of the public in Warrington and Halton to identify the offenders responsible.”

Patrols have been increased in the area as part of the investigation.

Anyone with any information should contact Cheshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 632 of 18 June 2014. Information can also be left anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.