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Outrage at Peak District bird of prey persecution

Last modified: 08 May 2012

Goshawk flying

Illegal persecution is making the goshawk a rare sight in parts of the Peak District

Image: Guy Monty

The RSPB and Severn Trent Water have today expressed their outrage at the wanton destruction of the nest of one of Britain’s most persecuted and rare birds of prey over the last few days. The RSPB is offering a reward of £1000 for information leading to a conviction.

The crime is the latest in a long-running series of attacks on birds of prey in the Peak District. It leaves only one active goshawk nest in the entire Derwent Valley, which previously has held six pairs of these birds of prey.

Mark Thomas, investigations officer with the RSPB, said: “Once again we’re faced with the destruction of birds of prey in Britain’s most visited national park.

“The sight of goshawk eggs smashed, only days from hatching, lying on the forest floor is a heart-breaking sight and proves that this bird is being systematically wiped out in the north of the Peak District.”

The Derwent Valley has been subject to a catalogue of bird of prey persecution incidents, with the most recent confirmed case being Glen Brown, a gamekeeper convicted of using a caged pigeon to lure birds of prey to a trap.

Derbyshire Police have launched an investigation of this crime, which took place on land managed by Severn Trent Water.

Sickened

Hazel Earnshaw, of Severn Trent Water, said: “We are sickened that this protected species has once again been subject to persecution, despite extensive efforts to protect it. The Goshawk should form a natural part of the ecosystem here in the Upper Derwent Valley. We are working closely with the RSPB to protect these birds and to identify the guilty parties."

Darren Belfield, a sergeant with the Derbyshire Constabulary, said: “This is a further instance of senseless destruction and persecution of a protected species. The individuals responsible show no regard for the law or for the conservation of bird of prey species within the Peak District National Park.”

The Derbyshire Constabulary is encouraging anyone with any information relating to this incident to contact the Police immediately on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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