Two poisoned buzzards found dead next to poisoned bait in Wales – appeal for information comes 7 months later

Two dead buzzards have been found next to a dead pigeon in a south Wales wood – all three have tested positive for Bendiocarb, a restricted poison that is currently the most widely-used substance for illegally poisoning birds of prey.

The two dead buzzards and the poisoned bait were found in woodland near HM Prison Parc in Bridgend in August 2022.

One of the poisoned buzzards next to the poisoned bait (a pigeon)

It’s not clear why it’s taken seven months for an appeal for information to emerge but it’s noticeable that the appeal (see below) has been led by the RSPB and not by South Wales Police.

So yet again, another police force has failed to warn the public about the use of a highly dangerous poison in a public area, that’s already killed at least two protected species.

I don’t understand why it’s so difficult for police forces to get this right – we see them cocking this up time and time and time again. Even if there’s a delay getting results back from the lab (as there so often is), it’s pretty obvious from the circumstances in this case that poisoning was the likely cause of death and therefore the public should have been alerted/warned immediately, not seven months after the event. Seriously, how hard can it be? It doesn’t inspire confidence, does it?


Poisoned buzzards prompt police warning to public

*Two Buzzards – a species protected by law – were found poisoned in Bridgend, posing a risk to public safety.

*Police and RSPB Cymru are asking anyone with information to come forward.

South Wales Police and RSPB Cymru are appealing to the public for information after two Buzzards were found illegally poisoned near HM Prison Parc in Bridgend.

The bodies were found by a member of the public alongside a dead feral pigeon in woodland near the prison in August 2022, and South Wales Police launched an investigation.

All three birds tested positive for the insecticide bendiocarb, a fast-acting poison. This is now banned in most forms but is frequently used to target birds of prey.

It has not been possible to identify a suspect.

Niall Owen, RSPB Raptor Officer, said: “It’s clear that these Buzzards were killed after feeding on the pigeon, which was laced with poison in a deliberate act to target birds of prey. This is not only illegal and dangerous to wildlife but represents a serious risk to any person or pet that may have come across it. If you have any information relating to this incident, please contact South Wales Police on 101.”

All birds of prey are protected by law, and to kill or injure one could result in jail and/or an unlimited fine.

If you find a dead or injured bird of prey which you suspect may have been poisoned or illegally killed in some way, call 101 and contact the RSPB via this online reporting form.

You can also get in touch anonymously by calling the RPSB’s Raptor Crime Hotline: 0300 999 0101.


25 thoughts on “Two poisoned buzzards found dead next to poisoned bait in Wales – appeal for information comes 7 months later”

  1. It is seriously disturbing that there are large quantities of banned, lethal, poisons circulating in the UK with police failing to address this matter. Not only that but they fail to pursue wildlife crimes for reasons best known to themselves. I would say this represents Misconduct In Public Office on the part of the police.

    1. I’m not going to defend the length of time that it takes to release this information, however you can’t pursue a case if you have no firm evidence as to who committed it. Unless someone is seen leaving the bait, you can obtain forensic evidence (Fingerprints, DNA etc) or you get a confession, it’s almost impossible to prove who did the crime. You might have a very good idea of who did it, but without evidence that will stand up in court, you can’t take a prosecution.

      Even if you find poison in posession of your suspect, you’ll have seen from previous cases you can’t prove beyond reasonable doubt that they used that to poison wildlife.

  2. The police get money for nothing. If they themselves deem it to be unimportant, then it is unimportant, and wether its a law or not doesn’t matter. They are becoming a defunct body that is simply here for itself. Not the general public.

    1. Whilst it is very disappointing that South Wales police didn’t make the public aware of this incident much sooner, it is hardly representative of all the hard and often courageous work the police undertake on a daily basis to keep the public safe. Without the police the public would be at the mercy of some very dangerous and violent criminals.

      The main issues in this incident are a failure by government to recognise the frequent use of poisons to kill protected wildlife, and to take the necessary measures to take these poisons out of public circulation.
      And a failure to recognise that the nature of wildlife crimes is that identifying an offender is often extremely problematic, and therefore a deterrence factor needs building into sentencing guidelines, so that if an offender is convicted then a meaningful prison sentence will follow.

      1. Raptor persecution will continue to be an after thought to the police. A minority still do their job in a diligent manner, the majority are corrupt and look after themselves. This is obvious as is shown by their general attitude of the police to the problem. As for the public being at the mercy of of criminals if we had no police, there are areas within the UK that are already that bad, and have been for some time.

  3. Time to ban all ‘game’ activity. No more toffs with guns, or clowns who work for them, endangering the public with extremely dangerous poisons being left recklessly lying about.

  4. I would like to see the police raiding farms and shooting estates looking for these poisons. They don’t have a problem raiding properties looking for illegal drugs: so why not this? The simple fact is that the illegal drugs industry actually provides more employment and more revenue to the UK than the shooting industry, so should probably be legalised and regulated, and the shooting industry should take its place on the illegal activities list.

    1. At the root of both is evidence – you can’t just turn up and raid a premises on a whim, you have to have the evidence that will convince a magistrate or sheriff that an offence has been committed, and you need to find and secure evidence before they will issue a warrant. (Some non-Police reporting agencies actually have greater powers, as they can ‘inspect’ business premises, but search always requires a warrant. In that case, I’ve had warrant applications turned down because the judge didn’t think the evidence was robust enough). There are plenty of examples of Police raiding properties in this way whilst investigating raptor poisoning incidents.

      1. I read on here and in the news time and again only keepers and farmers being mentioned for having illegal poisons. A poison only becomes illegal when the govening body scientists deems the poison has bad side effects to nature and humans from general use of said poison so they set a date that no more of said poison can be made by the manufacturers after that date. Any person using or shops selling said poison have usually 18 months to use all that is out in circulation. Problem arises when Joe public who buys same said poison whilst legal, stores it away in cupboard in garage or garden shed after using some of the poison then forgets about it until next time they have a problem. I bet if you ask the general public who buy poisons what the MAPP no: is all about, they won’t have a clue they haven’t been informed of their duty to periodically check the MAPP no: to see if said item is still current or not, so 10-15 years down the line they or a friend have a rodent problem and think I’ve got some poison I’ll use that, not knowing that said poison is now illegal to use. All trained personnonel know about the MAPP no: but Joe public doesn’t, meaning there could be huge amounts of illegal poisons out in the towns and countryside garages and sheds. Do the general public pick up the poisoned rodents and dispose of them properly like trained professionals have to, most won’t they will just leave them where they fall so any animal can get at it then, voila, the innocent wildlife start to fall to the highly toxic rodents, then the chain starts.

  5. South Wales police more than likely told to shut their mouths at the time of the incident by the UK’s greedy and corrupt establishment landowners, who’s profits from pheasant/grouse shoots etc will see them hit in their back pockets by birds of prey.
    The police seem more interested in keeping civil society in their place these days, with the alarming and incresingly fascist attitude they take towards policing the public during peaceful demonstrations and strike action, rather than address issues like the poisoning of our wildlife.

    If there was a peaceful demonstration protesting the poisoning of birds of prey, you can guarantee the heavy handed police would brutally hospitalise quite a few, with even more arrested. [Ed: I doubt that very much]

    1. The location of this incident in a small area of woodland near HM Prison Parc in Bridgend would suggest this poisoning most probably had nothing to do with grouse or pheasant shooting, and more than likely was connected to activities carried out by someone living in the area who has generated a warped loathing for birds of prey.
      The police were probably very aware of just which group in society the suspect they were looking for most probably came from, and most probably concluded that they would get no help in identifying the person or persons responsible.

      However, that shouldn’t have stopped the police alerting the public about the dangers of toxic bait being left in a public place, and Ruth is absolutely right that even if any media release wouldn’t have helped with the investigation into who was responsible for this crime, there should have have been a duty to protect the public. We will never know, but had the police focussed on the dangers this poisoned bait presented to children or pets, some of the local community might have been angered sufficiently to provide the police with information as to who might have been responsible.

      I would suggest your comments about police brutality when policing peaceful demonstrations is completely unfounded. The police are very aware that every action they take during a demonstration will be recorded and probably posted on social media, to be later scrutinised by lawyers to ascertain if their actions can be found wanting in any way.

      I also suspect any police wildlife officers reading some of the comments are going to be disappointed at some of the unfair and very misinformed accusations being made against them and their colleagues. Whilst in every large organisation there are poor performing individuals, I would suggest most police wildlife officers who specialise in wildlife crime do so because they genuinely care about the nations wildlife and want to bring the wildlife criminals to justice.
      At the moment the burden of proof required to secure a conviction for wildlife crimes makes their job very difficult, and it is towards the politicians who seem not to want to change the legislation to help end raptor persecution that we should direct our anger.

      1. So you haven’t noticed the goings on in Wiltshire then? Wildlife crimes and other officers that ride with the Avon Vale Hunt – the one whose crimes were exposed on ITV to the point that they have been expelled by the rest of the organised crime syndicate and a police spokesman has said it is none of their business if their officers belong to a criminal gang in their free time. Of course, that’s not how they phrased it.

            1. At least people are now talking seriously about these issues. Nothing like a bit of healthy debate! Goes down well with the media. And this subject (raptor persecution) needs plenty of coverage.

    2. I’ve been to a few Hen Harrier days, the first three for sure. The only police I remember being at them were police officers giving a speech to the crowd – and a Police and Crime Commisioner gave a good talk at the one in Edale. In Sheffield a few years ago I think I remember a couple of PCSOs turned up for a while, but more out of politeness than anything else. None of those police were remotely hostile to us. Likewise in 2021 I went to a climate march in Sheffield. Many marchers turned up, from Trade Unions, churches, green groups etc.. Apart from a few honking horns from inconvenienced drivers as we walked along a road that was the premitted route, there was no trouble at all -. On that occasion the marchers, passing pedestrians and police all behaved impeccably.

  6. Had a person been harmed or killed by poison in the the immediate vicinity in the days following this discovery, the police would have been to a large extent responsible, as they failed to publicise the threat.

  7. shout out to me for finding the birds and the lady who got in contact with the police to come and pick the birds up

      1. In 2019 me and my husband went on a five hour hike with a dead Buzzard wrapped up in plastic we had originally had our packed lunch in, then stuffed in my husband’s rucksack. We found the bird fairly near the start of the walk and we contacted the local raptor group to ask what to do. We were asked to try to bring it to them. So, not wanting to spoil our day out, we took the bird along with us. We were careful. We didn’t touch it and I had the food well away from it in my bag. Good job, becuase it turned out it had “a level of Brodifacoum in its liver of an amount that will have contributed to its death”. Not surprising, as it was found near a Pheasant shoot. But not enough evidence to figure out who put the poison down.

  8. We live opposite the woodland where the buzzards were found. A few years ago we had 7 fantail doves that one or two neighbours disapproved of. We returned from work one day to find 5 of them dead in the garden. No sign of injury so I assumed they had been poisoned. I didn’t know at that time that I could report it to the police. Some people have no qualms or conscious!!

    1. Thats about as low as anyone can get. Some would make the planet devoid of all wildlife if they could.

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