A NEW trial date has been set for two teenage girls accused of destroying a swan’s nest and attempting to damage a swan.

The pair, Katie Mellor, 18, of Hawthorne Drive, Yeadon, and Davina Morrow, 18, of Dockfield Place, Shipley, face charges relating to an incident on July 2 when smashed swan eggs were found on a pathway next to the Leeds Liverpool Canal in Shipley.

A trial had been due to start today at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates Court, but solicitors for both defendants made separate applications to delay the hearing following the outcome of psychologist reports on Mellor and Morrow.

District Judge Richard Clews was told that Mellor was found to have an IQ in the bottom one percent, and that Morrow was in the bottom three percent - meaning both teenagers were of "extremely low" intelligence.

As a result there were concerns that they would struggle through a trial without an intermediary to help them understand what was happening and the questions being asked of them.

District Judge Clews agreed to the application, setting a new trial date of March 17.

The teenagers are jointly accused of intentionally damaging or destroying the nest of a wild bird, namely a Mute Swan, at Dockfield Road, Shipley, while it was in use or being built.

The offence is said to have taken place between July 1 and 4 last year.

They also face three charges of attempted criminal damage, in that they attempted to damage a Mute Swan, intending to destroy or damage such property, on July 2 and 3.

District Judge Clews said of the psychologists conclusions: "That cannot and of course should not prevent the trial proceeding - it will have to be adapted. There is no suggestion they are unfit to plead," he added.

Solicitors for the pair were given nine weeks to find an intermediary - a specialist who can help vulnerable people in criminal trials.

Mellor and Morrow were given unconditional bail and warned to return to court on the new trial date, or the case may go ahead in their absence.

They first appeared in court in October and pleaded not guilty when the four charges were formally put to them in November.

The incident caused outrage in Shipley when the smashed eggs were discovered on a pathway near the nesting spot of the popular swans.

It was reported to West Yorkshire Police and investigated as an alleged wildlife crime. The pair were subsequently summoned to court by postal requisition.