Animal activists say a swan has died of a broken heart’ after her unborn cygnets were killed when yobs destroyed their nest.

The swan’s nest sat along the Manchester Canal, and housed her unhatched eggs. A group of teenage boys were seen throwing bricks and rocks in Kearsley on 20 May, aiming for the island where the bird had left her eggs.

After the incident, only three of the six unhatched cygnets survived.

Wildlife activists had been keeping watch of the swans and the nest, saying the male swan left around two weeks ago and has not returned since – and that it is believed he had been driven away by stress.

They also said more eggs had been lost in recent weeks, meaning only one remained. It was earlier this week that the female swan was found dead in her nest.

“She probably died of a broken heart as she had a partner for life and he was driven away by stress.”