London, June 30 : A British town came to a standstill to make way for a caravan of a swan family heading towards a pond through the busy roads.
All through their rambling three-hour walkabout, these daft birds were being escorted by rescuers, while the police stopped traffic and sealed off a shopping centre car park.
The mother, father and seven fluffy cygnets waddled along a winding three-mile route on their baffling trip around Langney, Eastbourne, East Sussex, from 2pm.
"We are at a loss to explain what these swans were up to, or where they were heading, but they certainly caused trouble. Unfortunately, the laws put in place to protect swans actually prevent us from picking them up and moving them, so all we can do is try to make sure they get where they're going safely," The Telegraph quoted Trevor Weeks, of East Sussex Wildlife Rescue, as saying.
He added: "This family has been causing us some problems over the past few weeks, because they keep wandering around for no apparent reason. It may be because they can no longer access their favourite pond, and are looking for somewhere permanent to live with a reliable source of food for the youngsters.
"We are currently applying to Natural England for a licence to move this particular family somewhere suitable, but it will take several weeks to go through. Until it does, we'll just have to keep a close eye on them."
The swans' walkabout ended up at the family nest near a small pond, exactly where they started out in the beginning.
"I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw police holding up people and cars to make way for a family of swans. They seemed to be taking a very circuitous route through the houses and around the shopping centre. I guess they were looking for food, but it didn't seem fair to make the babies walk all that way," said Sally Rogers, 43, who lives in Langney.
A spokesman for Sussex Police said: "To allow the swans to complete their walkabout, we had to stop some traffic and hold up some pedestrians, but these were only temporary measures."
The swans are protected under the Act for Swans 1576 and cannot be touched as they belong to the Queen.