Multi-agency searches were conducted last week at a raptor-poisoning hotspot in Derbyshire.
Since 2015, at least eight illegally poisoned birds of prey including buzzards and kestrels, as well as poisoned pheasant baits, have been uncovered on farmland in the Glapwell / Ault Hucknall / Rowthorne / Pleasley area of north east Derbyshire. Toxicology analysis has confirmed they were killed by the poisons Aldicarb and Alphachloralose (see here).
[A dead buzzard found in the area. Photo by Derbyshire Constabulary]
Last week police officers from Derbyshire Police’s Rural Crime Team were joined by staff from the RSPB Investigations Team, Natural England and the National Wildlife Crime Unit to undertake a series of land searches. A number of follow-up investigations are now continuing as a result of those searches.
Derbyshire’s Rural Crime Team posted the following statement on Facebook yesterday:
‘Consider this post both an appeal for information and a public safety warning.
Over recent years there has been a concerning number of dead buzzards found to have died as a result of poisoning on land around the Glapwell / Ault Hucknall / Rowthorne / Pleasley area.
In response to this issue, last week Derbyshire Rural Crime Team, RSPB Birders , the NWCU and Natural England were involved in a day of action in the area. Land searches were conducted and other lines of enquiry pursued in what proved to be a very positive day.
Clearly these beautiful birds are being targeted. Killing birds of prey in any way is ILLEGAL but laying poison on land that can be easily accessed by the public poses a significant risk to public safety.
When out and about, should you find anything suspicious it is important that you contact the Police immediately. DO NOT touch or handle anything and do not let children or animals go near.
If you have any information that may aid this enquiry please contact Derbyshire Rural Crime Team’.
This is the latest in a surge of multi-agency investigations in response to raptor persecution crimes over the last 14 months, including a raid in Suffolk on 18th January 2021 (here), another raid in Nottinghamshire in January 2021 (here, resulting in a conviction of a gamekeeper in 2022 here), a raid in Lincolnshire on 15th March 2021 (see here), a raid in Dorset on 18th March 2021 (here), a raid in Devon on 26th March 2021 (see here), a raid in Teesdale on 21st April 2021 (here), a raid in Shropshire on 2nd August 2021 (here), a raid in Herefordshire on 12th August 2021 (here), a raid in Norfolk on 14th September 2021 (here), a raid in Wales in October 2021 (here), a raid in Humberside on 10th December 2021 (here) and a raid in North Wales on 8th February 2022 (here).