Five goshawks shot & dumped in King’s Forest, Suffolk: Police appeal for information

Yesterday evening, Suffolk Police’s Rural, Wildlife & Heritage Unit posted an appeal on Twitter asking for information about the discovery of five young goshawks, reportedly shot and dumped in the King’s Forest, Suffolk.

The corpses were found on Monday (16th Jan 2023) at the Brandon end of the large car park area off the B1106, North Stow. Police say all five birds were x-rayed and all were found to contain shotgun pellets.

Some idiots from the shooting industry have been complaining on Twitter about what they perceive to be an ‘anti-shooting’ tweet from the police – anything to distract attention away from this disturbing crime, I guess.

One genius is even convinced that the x-ray image provided by the police is actually of a shot parrot and not one of the shot goshawks, despite it being explained to him in very simple terms by a qualified vet (@ThatVetSean) that the word ‘parrot’ appears in the corner of the x-ray image “because it’s a digital x-ray machine & veterinary software with handy preloaded settings enabling the operator to get a quality image in a single go. They’ll have chosen parrot as it’s comparable in size/anatomy, there isn’t a Goshawk setting“.

Well done to Suffolk Police’s Rural, Wildlife & Heritage Unit for issuing an impressively quick appeal for information.

If anyone has any information about who shot and dumped these goshawks, please contact Suffolk Police.

UPDATE 16.o5hrs: Five shot goshawks in Suffolk: RSPB offers £5,ooo reward for information (here)

UPDATE 5pm: Wild Justice also offers £5,000 reward (here)

UPDATE 19th January 2023: Crowdfunder launched to increase reward for information on five shot goshawks found in Suffolk (here)

42 thoughts on “Five goshawks shot & dumped in King’s Forest, Suffolk: Police appeal for information”

  1. When is this going to bloody end ? And as for the police asking the shooting community for information, you are wasting your time .

    1. Very well done to Suffolk police for getting this out so quickly. Less than 36 hours to learn about the incident, X-ray the birds and ask for info. Shows a commitment that many other forces should learn from.

    2. “And as for the police asking the shooting community for information, you are wasting your time .”

      No, they are not. They are throwing down a public challenge to an industry renowned for the illegal persecution of raptors, but who claim zero-tolerance for such crimes.

      The fact that there has been a hostile response indicates that the industry is rattled by such public challenges from the Police. In Dorset, a public challenge, and the hostile response, resulted in a decorated Police Officer being removed from her local role investigating wildlife crime.

      Should honest Police Officers submit to such intimidation and simply keep their heads down and say nothing about the shooting community, when guns are being used to commit crimes?

    3. Just to let you know that Private Eye have a relevant piece about bird flu, shooting industry and imports from France. p16 (Agri Brigade), No. 1590 20th Jan – 2nd Feb 2023.

  2. Clearly this is taunting the police and those with ‘normal’ minds who abhor this cruelty. ‘Look what we can do and get away with it’….absolute savagery. !

  3. Goshawks are hated by the pheasant shooters and breeders as much as Hen Harriers and Peregrines are by the Grousers. That they take magpies, rabbits, pigeons and particularly grey squirrels passes them by or is irrelevant to the fact that they may take a few of their alien long tailed chickens destined for canned hunting. This is an appalling CRIME and it begs the question how? Goshawks, magnificent birds that they are, are hardly approachable and easily seen never mind shot, is some low life neanderthal using a decoy live owl one wonders. Whoever where ever and by what ever means they are ignorant CRIMINAL bastards and should be locked up and never have access to guns again.
    This and other recent crimes and raids should be a wake up call to those who think the canned hunting of pheasants industry isn’t rife with persecutors and raptor haters.

      1. Possibly but how do you find a roosting Goshawk in a forest. Also I’d have thought they used a rifle for that not a noisy shotgun.

  4. Anyone stupid enough to suggest this is not someone with a great deal of local knowledge is a fool and a liar.
    This is someone who knows the area very well and there has to be a great deal of talk because there is undoubtedly more than one individual involved in this but the culprits will never be caught that is also obvious.
    These people are getting away with this all the time they are so crap at their jobs they cannot stand any predators at all but whilst this sick element that enjoys blasting away at hand reared tame birds such as Pheasant are in our midst this sick ritual will continue.
    The fact that no attempt was made to hide this criminal behaviour is undoubtedly their way of showing that they know they can do just as they like with no fear of getting any trouble from the law they are laughing at the authorities who do care in the sure knowledge of protection by their employers and the knowledge that the police will not pursue them beyond asking for information.
    This country is still living in the dark ages .

    1. Alan I suspect that these birds have been left as they have to be found by the sad criminal scum who did it as a two fingered salute to both those of us opposed to them and the law. It is of course and ideal opportunity for those within the local shooting fraternity and their friends to stand up and be counted by condemning this heinous act and “shopping” the culprits. that this is unlikely to happen shows them for what they are and the claimed intolerance of raptor persecution by their organisations for what it is a lie and window dressing.

  5. As is clear from the immediate reactions on Twitter, there will be no help from the shooting industry.
    Is anyone aware of any incident where a criminal gamekeeper has been identified thanks to information supplied by the NGO, BASC, CA, MA, SLE and any of the rest of the alphabet soup of xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx organisations?

    1. In an article in National Geographic last year the ex-chair of the RPPDG (a serving senior policeman, and a very good one) was quoted as saying that he did not know of a single instance of someone within shooting providing information on raptor crime…

    2. Those gosses are all young birds possibly caught with a live pigeon as bait in a Larson trap. Then individually shot. There’s no way 5 goss chicks would still be flying about together once they fledged in June.

  6. Beyond words. Shotguns are far too easy to obtain. Shotguns should be made illegal with an individual needing to make a case before a court as to why one should be held and a licence granted. Then licence costs should be much much higher

    1. The kind of people who did this have no trouble getting guns or certificates it’s al part their “job”.

  7. I live very near the site. I am furious and as my handle indicates I have had a very close relationship with this iconic species over many decades. There is no point in debating the pros and cons of this action. It is indisputably vile. I hope the knuckle-grazers who did this are caught. But I have a sneaking suspicion that they are not local. But why dump them in plain sight? A hole in the ground is obviously too much effort for the brain-dead. Revolting.

    1. Not local ??? Tourists then LOL I would bet they are very local to see 1 would be lucky to shoot 5 come off it.

    2. They’re sticking up 2 fingers at the law. Looks like 2 males and 3 females probably fledged last. June. Can’t see any rings so probably born on a shooting estate where raptor working groups have no access to ring the chicks. Normally done by bto ringers 5 is a bit strange for one clutch. It’s normally 3/4. So maybe some are unrelated. I’m gutted to see gosses dead like that. It’s just not on. Someone knows who did this. I hope they come forward. Get their ten grand reward and see whoever is responsible. Seriously nicked !

  8. It would be interesting to know if DNA samples will be tested to establish whether any of them are siblings. Aside from the horrific nature of the offences, the question uppermost in my mind is how it has been possible for so many to have been shot and, in particular, the time-scale over which this took place. Have they , for example, been shot one by one over a period of time and stored in a freezer before being dumped together? I find the whole situation to be absolutely mind-boggling.

    1. These being young birds were probably shot at a communal roost site which leads me to believe there was more than 1 gun involved and as for it being someone who does not live in the area well exactly how many visitors to the area are walking the woods with shotguns and why?

  9. The problem for the police will be establishing if the Goshawks were shot and killed in Kings Forest, or whether the perpetrator(s) killed the birds elsewhere and then dumped the dead birds in the car park?
    If the birds were shot in Kings Forest, then as this wood is owned by Forestry England and is deemed a public place (open access land) then in addition to the wildlife crimes, there could also be some very serious firearms offences committed.
    A very good move by Suffolk police to get this press release out so quickly.
    Hopefully local media will pick up on the story and broaden the press appeal to cover whether any members of the public were in the vicinity of the forest on the day in question, whether anyone heard the use of firearms or saw anything suspicious in the car park.
    I doubt anyone will come forward from the local shooting community to name potential suspects.
    But it will be interesting to see whether organisations such as the BASC, GWCT, NGO etc also cover this incident in their news feeds and appeal for their members to help the police with this enquiry.
    Those responsible for this crime are criminals – nothing more and nothing less, and need bringing to justice.

    1. Irony think there would have been many about if this did happen late evening If this land is indeed owned by forestry the best thing they could do was ban all hunting .

  10. Very sad situation, I would think it will be someone with a good knowledge of the area, someone who knew about the hawks, and probably waited for them coming in to roost, probably on a right windy night.
    Theres no other sentence to be passed but a lengthy time in prison and a ban on keeping any guns for a long time.
    The gunman must be a real thicko, leaving them there. If the sport, if you can call it that, is eventually banned then its criminals like this who will be speeding up its demise. This really is the dark side of shooting, and if the perpetrator is reading this, you are disgusting.

  11. In complete agreement with you all and it’s time the Police clamped down on these criminals and once apprehended the Courts need to issue heavy fines and take away licenses from anyone who breaks the law. I work to protect raptors so particularly sickened by this behaviour.

    1. There appears to be quite a bit of speculation regarding the age of these birds. All (which I’ve seen) ignores the fact that Goshawks overwinter in juv plumage.

      So yes, young Goshawks in January.

    1. Until recently, tens of millions of so-called game birds were shot every single year, but not eaten. Hundreds of thousands of snares were set, and countless thousands of predators killed, with ground fauna burned to death.

      Something carried out by a claimed half-a-million people, all of whom could be described as having severe and deeply routed mental issues. But none of them need help. The law needs to change, that’s all.

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