POLICE have raised concerns after three birds of prey were found dead in the Staffordshire Moorlands.
On Saturday (May 16) a buzzard and peregrine falcon were sadly discovered dead in a wooded area of Longnor, and yesterday (Tuesday May 19) a second peregrine falcon was found dead near Wetton. As there were no visible signs of injury, the birds will now be forensically examined to establish the cause of death. At this time officers cannot rule out the possibility that the birds were poisoned. A police investigation is on-going as under the Wildlife and Countryside Act it is an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take wild birds. Officers are asking local residents and visitors to these areas to report of any suspicious behaviour and be vigilant for the signs of criminal activity, including dead or injured birds, poisoned bait and traps. Reports are handled in the strictest of confidence – so anyone with any information is asked to get in touch by calling 101, or completing an online form at; https://www.staffordshire.police.uk/report-online/ quoting incident number 284 of May19. Staffordshire Police continues to support Operation Owl – a national initiative to raise awareness and prevent the persecution of birds of prey in our countryside. Chief Inspector Mark Thorley, commander of the Staffordshire Moorlands Neighbourhood Policing Team and rural crime lead, said: “If the birds have been specifically targeted, this is a dreadful crime and those responsible must be brought to justice. “If you come across a dead bird or suspicious object, this could be a wildlife crime scene. Please do not touch or move anything. Every piece of information may be crucial in prosecuting an offender so please take photographs if you can and make a note of your surroundings and landmarks to help officers to locate it". Any information, no matter how small and insignificant it may seem, could help Staffordshire Police with its on-going investigation. You can get in touch with them directly on 101 or contact any of their partners listed below: Crimestoppers 0800 555 111. Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme hotline 0800 321 600. RSPB’s confidential Raptor Crime hotline 0300 999 0101.