Norfolk businessman puts up £5K reward to catch raptor persecutors

Mervyn Lambert NorfolkLast month somebody stole a clutch of eggs from a Marsh harrier nest in Norfolk (see here). Around the same time, eggs were also stolen from a Kestrel’s nest and a wagtail’s nest. Norfolk Constabulary are linking the three thefts.

In response, local businessman Mervyn Lambert is offering a £5,000 reward for information, adding to the other £2,000 already available (£1K from the Eastern Daily Press and £1K from the Hawk & Owl Trust).

However, Mr Lambert isn’t limiting his offer to these three crimes. “I’ll give £5,000 for any information, not only about stealing birds’ eggs but poisoning, trapping and shooting protected birds“.

Good stuff.

Further details in the Eastern Daily Press here.

Eggs stolen from Marsh Harrier nest in Norfolk

Marsh-harrier-on-nest Robert PickettNorfolk Constabulary is appealing for information following the theft of eggs from a Marsh Harrier nest in Guist, near Fakenham, Norfolk.

The theft is believed to have taken place on Sunday 10th May.

Norfolk Constabulary press release here

Nigel Pickover, editor of the Eastern Daily Press, says the newspaper is offering a £1K reward for information leading to a conviction (see here).

Marsh Harrier photo by Robert Pickett

North Yorks still worst place for raptor persecution in 2012

Bowland Betty2The RSPB has published its 2012 Birdcrime report documenting bird persecution throughout the UK.

North Yorkshire has once again come top of the league for the number of reported crimes against birds of prey (34), with Aberdeenshire a close second with 31 reported incidents. Both counties, of course, include large areas of land used for driven grouse shooting.

The 2012 report includes statistics that are all too familiar: confirmed shootings of short-eared owls, sparrowhawks, buzzards, barn owls, tawny owls, hen harriers, golden eagles, marsh harriers, and peregrines; confirmed nest destruction of peregrines, goshawks and barn owls; confirmed illegal spring-trapping of buzzards, golden eagle and peregrine; other types of illegal trapping (including crow cage traps) of sparrowhawks, tawny owls, buzzards and goshawks; and the confirmed illegal poisoning of ravens, red kites, buzzards, golden eagles, marsh harriers, peregrines, cats and dogs.

Remember, these are just the confirmed incidents. Plenty more ‘probable’ and ‘unconfirmed’ cases, and of course there are all the incidents that went undiscovered/unreported.

Does that sound to you like the game-shooting industry is cleaning up its act?

Well done to the RSPB for their meticulous work and especially for their willingness to share these data with the general public.

RSPB press release here

Download the RSPB’s 2012 Birdcrime report here

The photograph shows the shot hen harrier Bowland Betty, found on a North Yorkshire grouse moor in 2012. Nobody has been brought to justice for her death.

Two marsh harriers and a red kite poisoned: late appeal for info

The RSPB and two county police forces have put out an appeal for information following the discovery of a poisoned pair of Marsh Harriers and a Red Kite.

According to the press release (see here), the two breeding Marsh Harriers were discovered in April on land adjacent to the RSPB’s Nene Washes Nature Reserve in Cambridgeshire. The Red Kite was discovered in Old Leake, Boston, Lincolnshire in May. Toxicology analyses showed that all three birds had been poisoned with the banned pesticide Aldicarb.

So here we are again, a ridiculously late appeal for information, seven and six months respectively after the birds had been found. Further more, according to the press release, the Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD) who funds the toxicology testing programme has already declared the two cases closed!

It seems there is more to these cases than meets the eye. Rumour has it that these cases have not been thoroughly investigated due to a lack of police resources. If that’s true, then why weren’t other agencies drafted in to help? Where’s all the much-heralded ‘partnership working’?

And why the bloody hell are appeals for information still coming so late? Every single bloody time it’s the same old story. What’s the point? Why is it so difficult to get these investigations right? That will be a question we’ll be posing in due course (and you can, too) to the newly-appointed ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) lead on Wildlife and Rural Crime, Chief Constable Simon Prince (from Wales). Watch this space.

In the meantime, we had a look at the quarterly poisoning results published by the CRD’s Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (see here). Have a look and see how many confirmed poisoning cases you can spot in England and Wales between Jan – June 2013 that have not been publicised in the media.

It seems the influence of The Untouchables spreads far and wide throughout these isles.

Here are the two poisoned Marsh Harriers

Marsh Harriers poisoned Nene 2013

And here is the poisoned Red Kite

RK poisoned Lincoln 2013