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Police urge public to act on persecution of birds of prey

PUBLISHED: 08:30 20 September 2019

© Kyle Moore Photography

Buzzard

© Kyle Moore Photography Buzzard

Kyle Moore

People have been asked to report any signs of cruelty to raptors as part of a national initiative being promoted by Suffolk Police.

The beautiful sight of a Red Kite in flight    Picture: Getty ImagesThe beautiful sight of a Red Kite in flight Picture: Getty Images

Sergeant Brian Calver of Suffolk's Rural and Wildlife Crime team says the force is backing Operation Owl, a scheme started last year by the RSPB and police in North Yorkshire where there are high levels of raptor persecution.

Sgt Calver says there have been a number of incidents in Suffolk in recent years including cases of buzzards being shot and poisoned and a tawny owl caught in a pole trap - a particularly cruel type of spring loaded trap left on fence posts where birds rest, which snaps legs.

He said: "These are difficult crimes to act on because much of the activity happens in remote places and is hidden but it is people walking in the countryside or riding their horses who are most likely to see it is taking place."

Close-up of tawny owl in the woods  Picture: HEATHER TANNERClose-up of tawny owl in the woods Picture: HEATHER TANNER

MORE: Why is there a growing number of red kites in Suffolk?

He is said members of public should alert police if they see people shooting at birds of prey or if they find a dead bird of prey by the roadside.

"You might see the odd owl that has been hit by a car as it has swooped across the road but generally if a there is a dead bird of prey on the side of the road there are suspicious circumstances," added Sgt Calver, who warned that dogs that pick up poisoned raptor in their jaws can be poisoned themselves.

Sgt Brian Calver of the Rural and Wildlfe Crime Team in Suffolk Picture: SARAH CHAMBERSSgt Brian Calver of the Rural and Wildlfe Crime Team in Suffolk Picture: SARAH CHAMBERS

Officers will be at the RSPB Minmsere and Suffolk Wildlife Trust sites this weekend to raise awareness of the problem.

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