Norfolk is worst for bird crime in the east

Buzzards have been targetted in Suffolk and Norfolk
RSPB image

Buzzards have been targetted in Suffolk and Norfolk RSPB image

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Norfolk has the highest level of bird crime in the Eastern region and one of the highest for lowland Britain, according to RSPB figures.

Its Birdcrime 2015 figures released on Friday show 12 cases for Norfolk, they include a raid on an extremely rare stone curlew nest.

Suffolk and Lincolnshire had seven each, Essex five, Hertfordshire had four and Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire had three each.

Of 41 wild bird crimes recorded in Eastern England in 2015, 24 involved the shooting, trapping or poisoning of birds of prey.

These include the confirmed shooting of three buzzards including one in Suffolk in June, one red-footed falcon (a rare visitor from eastern Europe) and a marsh harrier, and the confirmed poisoning of two buzzards – one in Norfolk in April – and a red kite.

However, the 41 crimes for the eastern region is almost equalled by the highest UK county figure of 40 for North Yorkshire.

Phil Pearson, RSPB senior conservation officer in eastern England, said: “The numbers in the report speak for themselves, and sadly they show that illegal raptor persecution is something that still happens here in the East of England and throughout the UK.

“It is well past time that illegal killing of birds of prey was consigned to the history books.

“I hope the government will respond to this latest call for action to see this happen.”

Despite raptor persecution being identified as one of the Government’s top wildlife crime priorities in 2009, the persecution of birds of prey remains an issue of serious concern, with around 590 birds of prey having been confirmed poisoned, shot, trapped or destroyed in the UK in the last 6 years.