Buzzard shot and poisoned in East Yorkshire: police renew appeal for info

Press release from Humberside Police (20 Feb 2019)

Poisoned buzzard East Yorkshire, renewed appeal for information

On the 2nd October 2018 Humberside Police appealed for information regarding the discovery of a dead Common Buzzard, which x-rays showed as having three shotgun pellets within its body [Ed: see RPUK blog here]. These were old injuries but the bird also had more recent injuries to its head, which at that time were suspected to have possibly come about by having been confined within a cage trap.

A detailed examination of the body and its food content has now revealed that the Buzzard had ingested food containing the highly toxic pesticide aldicarb. This substance has been banned for use and possession for over 10 years. It is one of several highly toxic pesticides which are abused by adding them to a bait like a dead rabbit to kill scavengers such as crows and foxes. Carrion eating birds such as Red Kites and Buzzards often become victims.

Several birds of prey including Red Kites and Buzzards have been recorded as being killed by the use of aldicarb in previous years at various locations within the East Riding of Yorkshire including near Market Weighton and Pocklington.

The bird involved in this incident during 2018 was discovered between Millington and Huggate in the East Riding of Yorkshire which is very popular with walkers. The exact circumstances of the bird’s death and how exactly it sustained all its injuries are unclear which is often the case with these offences. What is clear is that it had been shot previously and then ingested a banned toxic substance at a later date. Offences such as this are crimes under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which are punishable by up to 6 months imprisonment, an unlimited fine or both.

Wildlife and Rural Crime lead Chief Inspector Paul Butler said: ”Enquiries have so far failed to identify who is responsible for this particular crime but are ongoing. The continued use of these chemicals is highly irresponsible and there is no excuse for it whatsoever. Anyone undertaking any form of pest or predator control should ensure they operate within the law and best practice guidance. Those disregarding it for whatever reason should be aware that it is not acceptable and that my Wildlife Crime Team officers are actively seeking them out”.

Anyone with information about who is using these chemicals or involved in the persecution of birds of prey by any means are encouraged to come forward with this information which will be treated with the utmost confidentiality. Raptor persecution is a national wildlife crime priority which Humberside Police takes very seriously and works alongside other agencies to investigate offences.

If you think you have found a poisoned victim or bait do not touch them, cover them over if possible, warn others to keep away, note the exact location, take photos and report it to the police straight away.

Guy Shorrock, Senior Investigations Officer at the RSPB, stated: “There have been a number of incidents in the East Riding area involving the poisoning of buzzards by this highly toxic banned pesticide. We are grateful for police enquires into this latest case and would urge anyone with information to contact them. You can also contact the RSPB in strictest confidence on 0300 999 0101 if you have any information about birds of prey being illegally killed in your area”.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation should call Humberside Police on the non-emergency number 101 quoting investigation number 16/99978/18 which is being dealt with by WCO PC 1529 Day.


The RSPB has also written a blog about this case, here

7 thoughts on “Buzzard shot and poisoned in East Yorkshire: police renew appeal for info”

  1. Astonishing how a few bad apples can restrict range expansion of all large raptors/ remove existing large raptor populations/slaughter a large % of wintering raptors over huge areas of driven grouse moors in several countries !
    Anyone would think that the entire upland employment of keepers depended on such criminality ?
    There can now be no reason not to sat tag keepers and require them to film their work 24 / 7 ?!

    Keep up the pressure !

    1. I like the “sat tag a gamekeeper” idea, with video and audio recording too. A brilliant idea.

      I agree that the claim that a few bad apples are letting the shooting & killing industry down, is far from the truth. Hence their reluctance to identify and remove the bad apples.

      The whole barrel (oops) is rotten to the core.


  2. So it has taken 5 months to find out that a deadly poison has been used. !!

    In the press release the police state “If you think you have found a poisoned victim or bait do not touch them, cover them over if possible, warn others to keep away, note the exact location, take photos and report it to the police straight away”.

    If someone THINKS they have found a poisoned victim they are told, inter alia, to warn others to keep away. That is perfectly sound advice and common sense. I don’t recall the police doing much public warning when they suspect that poisoned bait has been used.
    When there is as much as a suspicion of poison being used I would, at the very least, think it prudent to erect notices in the area warning the public. Perhaps some land owners would not like that. It could create a bad impression about what may be going on.

  3. Found 2nd October and they are now asking for information. I could have sworn that we are coming to the end of February!!! Fat chance!

  4. Delay and obfuscate, that is how you create the illusion of action. Standard policing tactics when it comes to wildlife.

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