Charity appeals for information to protect North Yorkshire’s birds of prey

Hen harrier. File pic.

Crimestoppers is asking for anonymous information in a drive to protect North Yorkshire’s birds of prey.

As part of National Rural Crime Action Week, the charity has launched a campaign appealing for people to speak up with anonymous information about the illegal killings of birds of prey.

All wild birds, their nests, and their eggs are protected by law. It is illegal to intentionally kill, injure or take wild birds and offences can carry a prison sentence of up to six months.

Species such as golden eagles, peregrine falcons, buzzards, red kites and hen harriers are shot, poisoned and illegally trapped, with their nests and eggs being disturbed.

Experts says that as well as being cruel to the birds, many of which are increasingly rare in the wild, the spring traps used present a danger to people, and the poisons deployed can be dangerous even in very small amounts to humans as they can be absorbed through the skin.

Signs to spot:

  • Dead birds of prey lying next to dead pigeons, rabbits, pheasants or other potentially poisoned baits. It is important not to touch anything.
  • Live birds of prey caught in a trap.
  • Spring traps set out in the open that are not within a cage tunnel or other enclosed tunnel structure.
  • Any spring traps set out on top of a post – known as ‘pole traps’.

Gemma Gibbs, Yorkshire & Humberside regional manager at Crimestoppers, said: “If you find a dead bird or suspicious object in the countryside, this could be a wildlife crime scene. Every piece of information we are given anonymously and pass on may be crucial in helping to catch those who are responsible.

“It’s important not to disturb the scene by touching or moving anything and it’s vital never to approach any suspects yourself as they may react violently. If it is safe to do so, please take photographs of what you see.

“We hear from people every day who contact our unique service 100% anonymously to tell us about those involved in wildlife abuse. By telling Crimestoppers what you know, whether you live in or are visiting a rural area, we can pass on what you tell us. There’s no comeback. Together we can make all the difference by helping to protect these precious birds.”

If you have information about those behind the illegal killings of birds of prey in Yorkshire or elsewhere and you want to remain 100% anonymous, tell Crimestoppers what you know.

Visit the Crimestoppers website and fill in a secure anonymous online form or call the charity’s 24/7 UK Contact Centre on freephone 0800 555 111. In an emergency, always call 999.

1 Comment

  1. The fact that the chief culprits are gamekeepers on shooting estates is not a secret but the buck stops at their employers, i.e. the owners of the estates concerned. If fines were a proportion of their annual turnover, say 10% for a first conviction, 20% for a second and so on, they might be more likely to obey the law, though even better would be if the barbaric ‘sport’ of killing were abandoned altogether.

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