1. ITV Report

Cumbria and Scottish Borders amongst worst areas in UK for attacks on birds of prey

Around 500 illegal attacks on birds of prey have been reported between 2012-16 Photo: RSPB

Cumbria and the Scottish Borders have been named amongst the worst areas in the UK for illegal attacks on birds of prey.

Between 2012-16 the Scottish Borders has seen 22 confirmed bird of prey crimes, while Cumbria is shown to have 14, RSPB has revealed.

Overall, around 500 illegal attacks on birds of prey have been reported in the UK over the five year period.

The birds are found to be shot, trapped or poisoned Credit: RSPB

The RSPB is now calling for better enforcement of the law and "a licensing system for driven grouse shooting".

Worst counties for reported bird crimes in the UK between 2012 - 2016:

  • North Yorkshire - 54
  • Scottish Borders and Powys - 22
  • Aberdeenshire - 20
  • Norfolk - 19
  • Down - 18
  • Angus - 17
  • Derbyshire - 16
  • Cumbria - 14
  • Highland - 13
  • Perth & Kinross - 12

The attacks are said to be towards raptors, including red kites, peregrine falcons and buzzards, where they were shot, trapped or poisoned.

In 2016, the charity said there had been 81 offences and it was "the first time in 30 years" that there had been no prosecutions.

Nearly two-thirds of those attacks, which involved 40 shootings, 22 poisonings, 15 trappings and four other incidents, took place in England.

Birds of prey, which are protected by UK law, have fallen victim to illegal traps Credit: RSPB

Evidence sourced by RSPB suggests that the crimes are related to "driven grouse shooting."

Bob Elliot, head of investigations, said the crimes had "serious consequences" for the populations of birds.

We recognise the issue of raptor persecution within North Yorkshire, and are actively working closely with the RSPB, our National Parks, and other agencies, including the Moorland Association towards combating this problem."

– Jon Grainge, Inspector, North Yorkshire Police

The Countryside Alliance said there was no need for further legislation as there was no proof it would work.