Real life Hot Fuzz hilarity as police escort swan back to river in Bath

A swan took up officers' time in Bath (stock image) (PA)
A swan took up officers' time in Bath (stock image) (PA)

It may resemble a plotline from Hot Fuzz, but for police in Bath the escort of a swan out of the city centre was serious business.

A constable and two police community support officers frogmarched (or should that be swanmarched?) the cygnet away from harm after it had been startling shoppers.

The scenes over the weekend were reminiscent of the 2007 comedy action film Hot Fuzz, where Simon Pegg’s former Met Police cop relocates to the south west and is frustrated by a runaway swan. The bird is reported missing by Stephen Merchant's character Peter Ian Staker and then reappears several times at climactic moments in Edgar Wright’s film. Hot Fuzz was filmed, not far from Bath, in Wells and Wright later tweeted about the Bath rescue.

“I was out shopping with my wife and daughter and we noticed a bit of commotion outside the shop,” Bath resident Simon Galloway told the Guardian. 

“That was when we saw a cygnet being escorted down the street – presumably down to the river. There were loads of shoppers around, everyone had their phones out, laughing.”

Swans are no stranger to the news, regularly appearing on local news bulletins for disrupting trains - and in 2020, Great Western Railway staff struggled to contain one of the birds at Bath Spa station. There was also the legendary Ham & High article headlined Smug Swans Attack Dalmatian. 

But for Bath police, it was a case of deja-vu. In 2014, two cygnets were escorted from the city centre. One of the birds then took a nap in a road, leading police to put cones around it.

Bath community support officer Mike Symonds said after that incident: “We’ve had to deal with swans a couple of times before, so we knew how to handle them.

“We put blankets over their heads and bodies to pacify them, then we lifted them and carried them to the canal nearby.”