back to article Cops use bread and riot shields in desperate bid to contain crazed swan running amok in streets

Tis a dowie day whin a swan cannae donder doon th' wynd wi'oot bein' pestered by th' polis. Bit that's dreich reality fur th' birds in Greenock, Inverclyde, according tae footage captured in th' toon this week. Yin wis unfortunate enough tae miss its regular landing pad o' Murdieston Pairk by some 200m, touching doon in …

  1. Tom Paine
    Thumb Up



    1. Shadow Systems

      Re: Swan?



    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Swan?

      A swan walks into a pub, and the barman says “I named my pub after you.” The swan replies “you called your pub Dave?”

  2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    yon swanbeastie approaches...


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: yon swanbeastie approaches...

      Waily waily

  3. 2+2=5 Silver badge

    Bread and riot shields...

    Bread and riot shields ... Scottish Police's strategy for dealing with Brexit civil unrest post the 29th of March inadvertently revealed by swan.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Bread and riot shields...

      I thought most of the pro-brexiteers were swanning off abroad

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: Bread and riot shields...

        Things are certainly going to go up the Swannee, post-brexit

        1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

          Re: Bread and riot shields...

          Oh how things evolve - in olden days it used to be bread and circuses...

      2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: Bread and riot shields...

        Give it a few months and Scotland might be abroad. Particularly now we know they've got swans they're going to be inundated with hungry immigrants (DM link for irony)

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    3. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: Bread and riot shields...

      Used to be bread and circuses, but you're not allowed to have animals in circuses any more.

      1. earl grey

        Re: Bread and riot shields...

        "you're not allowed to have animals in circuses any more"

        So, no audience, amirite?

  4. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Not what it appears

    > I grew up on that street and this same thing happened every so often

    Frequently enough to not be a black swan event, then?

    1. Kernel

      Re: Not what it appears

      "Frequently enough to not be a black swan event, then?"

      So that would be several hundred times a day then?

      Here in NZ black swans are not only common, they're considered to be a pest species - white swans on the other hand are very rare birds indeed and I haven't seen one of them in the wild for years.

  5. The Real Tony Smith

    Careful, they can break your arm with their wings don't you know

    1. Stuart Halliday

      That's a myth...

      1. Alister

        No shit...

      2. phuzz Silver badge

        It's almost certainly a myth, but I challenge any one of you to try fighting a pissed off swan and see how far you get.

  6. Franco Silver badge

    "If it was a lairy toonser running amok, they would have Tazed the bas' and chooked 'em in a pond."

    The thing is no one would have objected to that in the slightest, but whilst half an hour of shepherding with bread and riot shields is hilarious if anyone had harmed the swan or been harmed by the swan in any way there would be outcry.

    It's also unfortunate that this comes out today, when Police Scotland have been complaining about budget shortfalls

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Exactly. In this day and age anything more intense than a mild "come along, get off the road" and maybe some finger shaking will result in a hail of nasty posts on FB and other media about "won't anyone think of the swans?", etc.

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        You missed...

        Thoughts and prayers.......

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I just took a quick look at the rest of the articles, and I think the police was just glad to have a break.

      Doesn't seem to be that healthy a place, but that's maybe my perception as a first time reader. Maybe you eventually get inured to it.

    3. Clunking Fist

      Budget shortfalls indeed.

      British Swans, then? Compare and contrast with Nazi pug dogs.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The poor thing, that could make it sick, those birds are gluten-intolerant. They should eat grass and leaves only.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan

      Re: Bread...

      They should eat grass and leaves only

      It's not the gluten that's the problem - it's the amount of protein in the bread. Swans, being (mostly[1]) herbivourous can't cope with large amounts of protein in their diet and bread has surprising abouts of it. Same for ducks - and because they are much smaller than swans, the effects are magnified.

      And they don't really eat grass and leaves - they mostly eat water weed. The ones that eat grass extenively are geese. We give our local waterbirds a mix of sweetcorn (off the cob obviously), lettuce and sunflower kernels. They tend to ignore the lettuce..

      [1] When they snack on water weed, they are quite happy to incude the small crustaceans/invertibrates living on said weed. And when the adults have cygnets around then both adults and cygnets need more protein in their diets to help the cygnets grow quickly so they will explicitly eat more molluscs and invertibrates.

      1. deive

        Re: Bread...

        It's also the sugar added to the average loaf of bread. All round it's just bad for them.

      2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Bread...

        And they don't really eat grass and leaves - they mostly eat water weed.

        Tell that to the ones on Midsummer Common in Cambridge. They seem to graze the grass as much as the cows do.

        1. earl grey

          Re: Bread...

          "They seem to graze the grass as much as the cows do."

          And crap out as much as cows do.

      3. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge

        Re: Bread...

        > It's not the gluten that's the problem - it's the amount of protein in the bread.

        This would be illuminating, were it not for the fact that gluten IS protein.

    2. Colin Wilson 2

      Re: Bread...

      Apparently that's an Urban Myth, and swans are actually starving to death because people have stopped feeding them bread because of it.

      1. Carpet Deal 'em

        Re: Bread...

        Now if only we could spread the same myth for pigeons.

  8. Ochib

    Was it a Mr. Peter Ian Staker, who reported the escaped swan?

  9. DasWezel

    Tabloid maths

    "So we're approaching £200k to defuse this situation already."

    What is this, the Daily Mail?

    1. Francis Boyle

      And the prize goes to

      the Register for outstanding contributions to the field of bistromathics.

      1. BebopWeBop

        Re: And the prize goes to

        It's unlawful (in the UK) to include it in anything that can be calculated using Bistromathis (unless you are the monarch)

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Swan on toast

          Well the eating of swans was removed from the Treason Act (1351) in an amendment in 1998, but the killing of a swan comes under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act anyway. As the Crown owns all unmarked swans, it's only legal to eat one with a swan mark, and as the swans on the Thames at least are owned by either the Queen or the Vintners and Dyers city livery companies, you would have to be a member or guest of one of those guilds to sample the delicacy. There are other privately owned swans elsewhere in the UK. Makes me wonder what happens when the birds move around.

          1. Clunking Fist

            Re: Swan on toast

            "Makes me wonder what happens when the birds move around."

            During the Transfer Window?

    2. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: Tabloid maths

      £200K if...

      -the vans were bought specially for this incident, and were destroyed immediately afterwards

      -the 2-3 coppers were paid their annual salary to do just this one call-out, and haven’t done anything else before or since.

      Bad mathematics indeed, but not so much Daily Mail, more Diane Abbott.

  10. Stuart Halliday

    Not cute guys.

    Parody about one of British accents does come of as patronising to us Scots.

    Also breadcrumbs are dangerous to young swans as they get a limb distortion which stops them flying.

    Now carry on....

    1. CrazyOldCatMan

      come of as patronising to us Scots

      I think El Reg can best be described as an equal-opportunities patroniser..

    2. Alister

      Parody about one of British accents does come off as patronising to us Scots.

      No, only to Glaswegians. Don't be such a fucking snowflake.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Fuck you for using Snowflake - a word of the right wing Nazis in the US.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          a word of the right wing Nazis in the US.

          And Santa.

      2. Slef

        Walk down the road in Greenock calling all the locals snowflakes....If you have got the balls

    3. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Parody about one of British accents does come of as patronising to us Scots.

      You don't hear us English complaining about the 99.999% of ElReg content that parodies our accent.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        "the 99.999% of ElReg content that parodies our accent."

        Can one be racist about marketing'droids, PHB's etc?

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Parody about one of British accents does come of as patronising to us Scots."

      Are you generalising all Scots into the same accent grouping? Isn't that a bit patronising to Scots?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Aye, the best laugh about the 'Jockinese' they used in TFA is that nae fucker in Greenock speaks a dialect which even remotely resembles it¹..the current one here's a bit like that o' the weegies, but no quite the same...

        ¹. Ok, someone somewhere locally probably does, the place being the increasingly fun melting pot that it is, there's a small chance of someone speaking such a bastardised pseudo-Broonish dialect (probably living in the tunnels with the Catman) also doubly helped by Greenock being adjunct to good old Innsmouth-on-the-Clyde (aka Port Glasgow) and the weirdos that place has attracted from all over Scotland since its unholy birth², but honestly, there's no enough man³, pal, bastardin', fuckin' and cuntin' in the spiel used for it to be authentic Greenock..

        ². I should know, some of my ancestors moved down from Govan to the Port shortly after the place was founded...

        ³. The standard call of the widely spotted Junkiejakeybastardicus greenockii, oft heard echoing plaintively round the immediate environs of the empty Oak Mall 'man man man hey big yin man man man gonnie gies some money fur ma bus fare man man']

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That was supposed to be Scots?

      I thought Richard was trying to sound like a swan.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I though Lallans was a proper language. SCOTS LEID ASSOCIE

      I'm not a Scot but I do like Lallans.

  11. dervheid


    Naw, yah shower o' nuggets, it's spelt 'breid', as in 'heid' or 'deid'

    If yer gonnae try an' rip the pish, ye'll need better patter than that.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: "breed"

      Please update the encheferizer.

    2. Laura Kerr

      Re: "breed"

      Guid on ye, pal. A wisnae best pleased masel wi yon hack tryin tae scrieve in Scots withoot kenning the leid. Ye can aye tell - yon ower use o apostrophes gies it awa.

      1. Excellentsword (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Re: "breed"

        In case you were wondering, I am Scottish on my father's side and grew up there, but I'm also a massive fucking poseur. I dinnae ken!

  12. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    No luck catching them swans then?

    1. ChrisW88

      Just the one swan actually...

  13. phuzz Silver badge

    Could have been worse, the swan could have come to Bristol.

  14. Commswonk


    Someone (and the last I heard nobody knew who exactly) in Bowness on Windermere put up a sign saying "please do not feed bread to the swans" (or similar) and the swans took exception to it. They promptly decamped from the lakeside and marched (slowly!) the 100 - 200 yards into the town and parked themselves outside takeaways, foodshops (inc Tesco, I believe) and more or less demanded food with menaces.

    The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again...

    1. Franco Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile...

      I now have visions of a group of pigeons displaced by the swans complaining about bloody swans coming over here, taking our scraps.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meanwhile...

      My cat does the same. Should I find a small furball, jaws latched to one of my limbs, I know it must be hungry.

    3. earl grey

      Re: Meanwhile...

      " more or less demanded food with menaces."

      So, just one more two-footed rat.

  15. BebopWeBop


    But the approach is all wrong. Swans can be dangerous – indeed, at least one is suspected of murder – when defending their nests and young.

    Justifiable homicide in the birds eyes....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Criminal?

      Indeed, to commit murder you must know what you are doing and intend to kill.

      The bird could only really be accused of involuntary manslaughter.

  16. Stevie


    Very amusing tale, but why tell it in that dreadful Irish brogue?

  17. adam payne

    So we're approaching £200k to defuse this situation already.

    Overkill possibly but if it had attacked someone then people would have been up in arms about it.

    Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

  18. aregross
    Thumb Up

    Lulz on both sides, the Article *and* the Commentards!

  19. Juan Inamillion


    The title is one of the finest phrases ever to come out of Scotland (along with many others). Thanks for that.

    And now for another situation in which the Scottish diction causes trouble.

  20. GrumpyKiwi

    Swans? More like c****

    Hated them bastards since the day when a much younger Kiwi got thrown off his bike by one that wandered in front of it. I desperately turned left to dodge, the swan went left, I threw the handlebars right, the swan turned and went right. BLAM. I went over the bars but luckily was able to stop myself with my bare hands and face on a convenient patch of gravel. My bike had the front forks bent and was un-ridable. The swan on the other hand, hissed at me and wandered off to go cripple someone else.

    Police should have shot this one.

  21. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Police work

    Many Americans will have read Make Way for Ducklings to their children, or had it read them when children themselves. For those who do not know, it includes some of the Boston police force (with suitably Irish names, as I recall), clearing a way for ducks and ducklings to move into the public gardens. There was no speculation on the cost to the taxpayer, though.

  22. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    A quacking good tale! Need more hiss though.

  23. Mr Booth
    Thumb Up

    Someone had to say it

    Dear Sirs,

    May I humbly request a reenactment in Playmobil.

    Forever your humble and obedient servant etc.

    Mr Booth.

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