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Crime against rare birds causes concern

PUBLISHED: 12:40 26 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:41 06 July 2010

CRIMES against wild birds in eastern England remained at near record highs last year, according to latest figures.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) received 95 reports in the region of shooting, poisoning, trapping and disturbance of birds and of the theft of birds and their eggs.

CRIMES against wild birds in eastern England remained at near record highs last year, according to latest figures.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) received 95 reports in the region of shooting, poisoning, trapping and disturbance of birds and of the theft of birds and their eggs.

While the figure is slightly down from the all-time high of 111 reports in 2007, it is the second highest ever recorded by the charity for the region. Many more are believed to have gone undetected and unreported.

RSPB officials have now called for a shake-up in the way such crimes are policed.

Ian West, head of investigations at the RSPB, said: “How many more of our wild birds have to be lost before the authorities start taking these crimes seriously?

“It is absurd that the government lists the killing of birds of prey as a wildlife crime priority and yet these crime are not recorded by the Home Office. This provides little incentive for police to tackle crimes seen as less important. If I stole a packet of sweets, it would be recorded in the Home Office figures. If I shot a golden eagle, it would not. That cannot be right.

“The law is being flouted and our natural heritage ransacked for want of modest resources and a shared determination to tackle the problem.”

The RSPB is also asking members of the public who care about our birds of prey to pledge their support for an end to illegal killing at www.rspb.org.uk/birdsofprey


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