Gun, banned poisons & dead birds of prey seized in third multi-agency raid in England

Press release from Dorset Police (1st April 2021)

Officers and partners who executed a warrant at a rural property in East Dorset have seized pesticides, dead birds of prey and a firearm.

Dorset Police Wildlife Crime Officers have been working with the Police National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU), Natural England and the RSPB to investigate the alleged poisoning of a Red Kite, which was found dead in a field in north east Dorset in November 2020.

The bird of prey was recovered by police following the discovery by a member of the public and sent for forensic analysis at a specialist laboratory. The results of a post mortem examination subsequently indicated that it had been poisoned. 

On Thursday 18 March 2021 officers, accompanied by NWCU, Natural England and RSPB, attended an address in rural north east Dorset, having obtained a warrant and also exercised further powers under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. 

A number of dead birds of prey and several pesticides, including banned substances, were located at the premises. A firearm was also recovered. 

[Photo by Guy Shorrock]

Police Constable Claire Dinsdale, Lead Wildlife Crime Officer for Dorset Police said: “This investigation is ongoing and no further information or comment can be made at this time regards this specific case

The national picture is that the persecution of birds of prey sadly continues in the UK. This is one of our six national priorities for wildlife crime, highlighted on the National Wildlife Crime Unit’s website 

A great deal of work has already been done by police and partner organisations but still there are those who think they are above the law.  The deliberate killing of birds of prey will not be tolerated. We have had previous cases in Dorset of illegal shooting and trapping as well as poisoning. 

I would urge the public to be vigilant and report dead birds of prey to police. Clear evidence of a wildlife crime, such as an illegal trap, shooting or suspected poison bait should be reported immediately to police without delay. A ‘What Three Words’ location or grid reference is really useful.

If a dead bird of prey is located and you are not sure whether it is suspicious or not, still report it to police immediately. We can access assistance from vets to examine and x-ray birds and submit them for forensic testing, therefore ruling out natural causes. Police can access forensic funding for such wildlife crime cases. 

A wildlife crime in progress is a 999 call, an urgent suspicious finding needs to be called in on 101 immediately and for all other non-urgent reports you can email or visit Dorset Police online 

If you have any information on the illegal killing of birds of prey or other types of wildlife crime, you can speak to police in confidence by emailing We do not act in a way that would identify the source of the information to the police.” 


This is the third multi-agency raid that’s taken place in England in the space of a couple of weeks, in relation to the suspected persecution of birds of prey.

On 15th March 2021 there was a raid in Lincolnshire (see here), on 18th March this raid in Dorset, and on 26th March a raid in Devon (see here).

It’s alarming that all three raids were triggered by the use of poisons to kill birds of prey.

Well done to all the partners involved – let’s hope their efforts are rewarded with successful prosecutions and convictions.

UPDATE 1st January 2023: Gamekeeper due in court facing multiple charges of raptor persecution, poisons and firearms offences (here)

11 thoughts on “Gun, banned poisons & dead birds of prey seized in third multi-agency raid in England”

  1. Excellent news. Good to see the NWCU getting stuck in and assisting a local police force. This appears to have been a particularly successful raid and I look forward to learning the details of what was found in due course.

  2. Hopefully someone in mainstream national media will pick up on these recent raids and link them all into a wider story covering the ongoing national problem of raptor persecution and recent police action to tackle this.
    This could be a good opportunity to present Operation Owl to the wider public as we emerge from lockdown and venture out into the countryside again.
    Whilst one isolated incident will have little impact on public perception, a report covering a multitude of incidents may well grab the publics attention.
    Link that into the wider issues of land use, heather burning and climate change and it could be a game changer???

  3. Good work. We all know about the persecution in the north of England re dgs, but do we know the reasoning behind this in Dorset? Is it too linked to a shooting estate?

  4. we need lots of publicity for these three raids, the reasons they took place and of course for any subsequent court cases. More Please!

  5. Very well done those folk who got all this evidence. I hope they won’t be discouraged if it’s dismissed with a slap on the wrist as has happened in the past.

  6. They should really make an example this time with a heavy sentence. It’s the only way they will learn I’m afraid.

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