1. ITV Report

Police investigating after buzzards shot dead in Hexham

The buzzards were shot and killed in two separate incidents Credit: Northumbria Police

Police are investigating after buzzards were shot and killed in Northumberland.

They received two reports of buzzards being shot in the Hexham area.

One of the incidents happened on April 25 in the Steel area. The buzzard was taken to a Wildlife Sanctuary, examined by a local vet but ultimately had to be put to sleep.

The second incident happened on May 14 in the Blanchland area of Hexham, where the bird was found dead near the river Derwent.

PC Lee Davison, Northumbria Police Wildlife Crime Officer, said: "Northumberland is home to a variety of wildlife including birds of prey.

"The persecution of birds of prey like buzzards is quite rightly an emotive issue and I want to reassure the public that we take it very seriously.

It is a criminal offence and, where possible, we will always look to identify offenders and put them before the courts.

Enquiries into these incidents are ongoing and we are working with partners to identify suspects. I would ask anyone who has any information to get in touch with us.

– PC Lee Davison, Northumbria Police's Wildlife Crime Officer

Jenny Shelton from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said the birds were a vital part of the regional landscape.

She said: "Buzzards are beautiful birds which bring pleasure to many and are a crucial part of our natural landscapes and ecosystems.

"All birds of prey are protected by law under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Yet buzzards, peregrines, red kites and other birds of prey are being illegally killed in Northumberland, and other upland areas in the UK."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Northumbria Police.