BOATERS were left shocked after seeing youngsters throwing bricks at a cygnet.

The teenagers were spotted in King Edward Quay at the Hythe in Colchester on Wednesday evening.

One resident said they could have been trying to kill the baby swan.

She said: “Some 13-year-old boys were throwing bricks at the only cygnet left on the river.

“There was about five of them and it was about 6.30pm.

“The incident hasn’t been reported to the police or the council yet.

“I’m not sure if they would take any action, with it being a wild animal.”

It is thought the cygnet is the only one left in the area after some were poisoned last year.

The resident said: “It’s heartbreaking to see some boys trying to kill it.

“It was shaking it’s head afterwards, but I’m hoping that was just the water from the brick splashing in the river. It did swim away with its parents.”

The resident said everyone was left upset by the cruel act.

The boaters often feed the swans and have become attached to them.

The Hythe Boaters Group said the young lads should be confronted.

It said: “It says a lot of worrying things about them as people if they want to hurt an innocent living being and a baby.

“We on the river look after those swans and they are loved by the community, the [boys] need to be found.”

The incident comes after a suspected poisoning.

Last September five swans, including four cygnets, were believed to have been poisoned in the River Colne. The incident was reported to Defra.

Mike Lilley, councillor responsible for public safety, said the latest incident should be reported to police and the RSPCA.

He said: “This is a crime and it needs to be reported straight away as it’s animal cruelty.”