Multi-agency raid following suspected raptor persecution in Norfolk

Norfolk Police led a multi-agency raid in yesterday, executing a warrant in Breckland in relation to suspected raptor persecution crimes.

The police were joined by staff from Natural England, National Wildlife Crime Unit and RSPB Investigation’s team. Items were seized and dead birds of prey were found.

The investigation is ongoing.

[Photo by RSPB]

The Breckland district of Norfolk:

This is at least the 8th multi-agency search in England this year, all in response to raptor persecution crimes. On 18th January 2021 there was a raid in Suffolk (here), on 15th March there was a raid in Lincolnshire (see here), on 18th March a raid in Dorset (here), on 26th March a raid in Devon (see here), on 21st April a raid in Teesdale (here), on 2nd August a raid in Shropshire (here), on 12th August a raid in Herefordshire (here) and now this raid in Norfolk.

That’s a lot of raids in a relatively short space of time, in comparison to recent years. It’s testament to the agencies involved that they are being so proactive and working well together in a genuine multi-agency partnership, which is brilliant to see. It’s also testament to the fact that raptor persecution continues in many locations across the UK, despite what the game-shooting organisations would have us believe.

Whether these investigations result in prosecutions is another matter entirely, but personally I’m delighted that at least this early part of the criminal justice process appears to have been re-energised after a long period of stagnation. Well done to all those involved.

12 thoughts on “Multi-agency raid following suspected raptor persecution in Norfolk”

  1. always a good job by the pursuers, culprits walk all the time,and will till estates/shooting, and gamekeepers don’t exist,

  2. Also a huge vote of thanks must go to all those who continue to publicise these crimes and keep them in front of the media and public. Chief amongst them must be yourself Ruth who, inspite of being the recipient ongoing abuse and persecution, carries on regardless. Heartfelt thanks for continuing to face them down.
    These multi-agency raids are the product of your very hard work.

    1. Thanks, Paul, that’s kind, although I’m just one of many many others who work on raising awareness about this issue. Public awareness is key, IMHO, because thanks to the vested interests connected to various Governments, it will require ongoing public pressure to bring about reform. They won’t act unless the voters demand it.

      1. “Public awareness is key, IMHO,”

        Spot on with that point.

        For a very long time we have heard the Holyrood mob blabber about what they will do to tackle wildlife whilst actually avoiding doing anything worthwhile. We have to recognise that a lot of people do not have the intense interest in the subject as we who abhor the crime do. That requires a drive for maximum publicity for the crimes AND the public to be made aware that govs. who talk about tackling crime, but do not follow through are not to be trusted with anything.
        The crime continues to happen because govs. are letting it happen.

  3. If NE are part of the multi-agency team then they are fully aware that Raptor Persecution is on going. They know its happening on shooting estates.
    So on one hand they say persecution has stopped and they can work in partnership with the “shooting for fun” estates. On the other hand they are helping the police to put them in court?
    How will they ever make progress.
    They have to be seen to defend the law.

  4. On a day when all of the news and media seems to be so depressing, reading about another persecution is even more distressing. Yet, I will admit to feeling an uplifting sense of hope and promise when I read about a definitive action being taken every time an RP newsletter pings my email inbox.
    I can never express enough how much I genuinely appreciate Ruths devotion and dedication, and the teams, other departments, and partners are all appreciated as well. Thank you Ruth, and thanks to everyone here involved too, for giving us all a chance to contribute, whether via forum, Twitter, donations or in what ever small way that we can. You are ALL genuine wildlife and raptor, birds of prey hero’s…another group who prove that not all hero’s wear capes;) Thank you for sharing an much needed glimmer of hope in the otherwise darker media news. Warmest Regards as always, sincerely R Elizabeth aka ladybudd

  5. Even if this results in no prosecution these raids are sending a powerful message to the persecutors and shooting industry in general that your illegal activities will not be tolerated. It also sends a message of hope to all of those of us that care about both our raptors ( and protected mammals) that such crime will be taken seriously even though our politicians continue to fail us, especially in England and Wales on the penalties front. In one way one hopes there are no more but as long as these crimes continue let’s hope there are.

  6. I agree it is good to see this multi agency partnership approach to tackling raptor persecution. It is encouraging that these agencies are working together to execute search warrants in order to gather evidence into suspected raptor crimes.
    This approach is also good at grabbing media attention, which hopefully increases wider public awareness of just what is happening in some parts of our countryside, and of the criminals who operate and persecute wildlife.

    But we should remember this multi agency approach is now the normal way most agencies work together, and has been recognised as best practice for some considerable time. The fact we appear only to be seeing this approach being adopted for suspected raptor persecution crimes so recently, suggests to me that until fairly recently there was in very little interest in these crimes from organisations such as the police and Natural England.
    If the political focus which has made raptor raptor persecution a national wildlife crime priority shifts to something new, could we see a decline in police support?

    It would be interesting to know just how many police forces have dedicated wildlife crime units, and not just a token of police wildlife officers, who undertake wildlife investigations as part of their general duties.
    Do all police forces have a fully documented strategy for dealing with wildlife crime, a strategy that starts with police call handlers and initial public contact, right through to the allocation of police resources, working with partner agencies and the CPS?
    Or is the interest to a reported raptor crime based very much on pot luck, and just how passionately the initial call handler or allocated officer feel about the problem of raptor persecution?

    As Ruth, points out the real problem is the almost complete lack of prosecutions for raptor crimes.
    This worries me.
    Whilst multi agency raids might indicate to those responsible for raptor crimes that such crimes are being robustly investigated, and their activities will be investigated. The fact that so few criminals are actually prosecuted and brought to justice might embolden some of these criminals into believing that they are in fact “untouchable”.
    As such the whole despicable circle of raptor persecution just keeps on spinning.
    The lack of successful prosecutions also suggests to me that the current strategy for dealing with raptor crimes isn’t working.
    A successful investigation is one where a suspect is identified and sufficient evidence is gathered to bring the offender to court.

    Surely, the purpose of the law is not only to bring offenders to justice but also to deter crimes from being committed in the first place?
    This just isn’t happening at the moment.
    Hence the continuous reports of raptor crimes occurring right across the country.

    Whether there needs to be a change in the law so that the investigating agencies are better equipped to gather evidence and go after suspects is something which needs more discussion by those with the power to change the law in this area.

    Or would raptor persecution crimes be better served by introducing new legislation for the civil courts, whereby if it was proved on the balance of probability that a suspect was guilty of raptor persecution crimes, then that would immediately result in the withdrawal of any public funding that suspect or his businesses received, whether that be stewardship grants, farm payments or any other form public money? This legislation would be in addition to any proposed grouse moor licensing scheme.

    Whilst its nice to read about multi agency raids.
    I would be even more pleased if I read about raptor persecution criminals being forced to quit the countryside because his/her crimes had led to an economic collapse of the enterprises which were the cause of that raptor persecution.

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