1. ITV Report

Appeal after birds of prey found dead in Dorset

This buzzard is believed to have been shot deliberately. Credit: RSPB

There are concerns that birds of pray in Dorset are being deliberately killed after a barn owl and a buzzard have been found dead near Melplash.

In May, the body of a buzzard and a dead barn owl were found by members of the public and taken to a vets for tests.

An X-ray on the buzzard revealed a piece of shot in it's skull, thought to be the cause of death and the owl was found under its nest box, though the body was too decomposed to work out how it had died.

The deliberate persecution of birds of prey is not only brutal but illegal.

Raptors are an essential part of a healthy ecosystem, not to mention a glorious sight to see.

We are grateful to the member of the public who took the trouble to report these incidents and we urge anyone with information to come forward.

– Tony Whitehead, RSPB South West Regional Office
The deliberate persecution of birds of prey is illegal in the UK. Credit: PA images

Another dead barn owl and a number of dead buzzards have been reported in the area, leading Dorset Police and the RSPB to appeal for information.

Birds of prey and owls are protected by law under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which makes it an offence to intentionally harm them.

Anyone found to have shot or killed these birds faces an unlimited fine and/or up to six months in jail.