West Mercia Police have issued an appeal for information following the discovery of a poisoned peregrine.
The male bird was found dead in a quarry at Clee Hill, Shropshire. This is a well-known persecution blackspot, with two peregrines poisoned there in 2010 and another one poisoned in 2011.
The latest victim was discovered on 15th June 2015. It’s not clear why it has taken five months for the police to issue an appeal for information. This is a recurring and yet avoidable problem, e.g. see here and here for two other recent examples of long delays before the police ask for help with investigations into raptor persecution crimes. It’s just not good enough.
The RSPB and the Shropshire Peregrine Group have offered a £1,000 reward for information leading to a conviction.
Police press release as follows:
West Mercia Police are appealing to the public for information after it was confirmed that a peregrine falcon found dead in a quarry in Clee Hill, Shropshire had been poisoned.
There have been previous problems in this area with two peregrines poisoned in 2010 and another in 2011. Over the last few years the Shropshire Peregrine Group (SPG) has been organising volunteers to keep an eye on the location. On the 15 June this year a volunteer reported a dead adult male peregrine at the base of the breeding cliff. The body was recovered by the RSPB and passed to Natural England in order that toxicology tests could be arranged. These have since confirmed the bird was poisoned by diazinon, the same product as in previous incidents.
Peregrines are fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and anyone convicted of killing these birds could receive up to six months in prison and/or a fine.
The RSPB and the SPG have offered a reward of £1000 for information leading to the conviction of anyone involved in this incident.
John Turner of the SPG said: “This is yet another tragic incident at this site. The female parent also disappeared and we are concerned she may have also been poisoned. The situation was made even worse as the two chicks in the nest also died with the loss of the parents.”
Wildlife Crime Officer for West Mercia Police, Constable Julian Ward said: “There have been previous incidents in this area and the illegal use of poison poses a risk to wildlife and to people. We believe somebody in the local community will have information about who is involved and we would urge them to contact police.”
Information can be reported to West Mercia Police on 101 quoting reference 649S of the 15/06/2015. You can also give information anonymously to Crimestoppers UK or 0800 555 111
Photos of the poisoned peregrine by RSPB (G Shorrock)