Birds of prey are found dead with gunshot wounds by walkers

A Sparrowhawk eating a pigeon.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYCOPY:FOR:EDP NEWS© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2010 (01603 7724

A Sparrowhawk eating a pigeon.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYCOPY:FOR:EDP NEWS© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2010 (01603 772434) - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC 2

Police have warned that all wildlife crimes will be taken 'extremely seriously' following the deaths of two birds of prey in mid Norfolk.

A dead sparrowhawk with gunshot injuries was discovered by a couple out walking along Brisley Road in Whissonsett, near Fakenham, on February 16.

A week later another couple heard shooting while walking in Narford Wood near Swaffham, and found a dying buzzard which had been shot.

It is an offence to intentionally kill, injure, or take wild birds, and the maximum penalty that can be imposed is a fine of up to £5,000 and/or six months' imprisonment.

Wildlife crime officer Det Con Dave Armstrong said: 'Norfolk Constabulary treats wildlife crime extremely seriously and will take appropriate action against anyone caught deliberately harming or killing wild birds. We are privileged to live in a county with many areas of outstanding beauty and are surrounded by nature in all its forms and we wish this to continue.'

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He urged anyone with information to call police in strict confidence.

RSPB senior investigations officer Guy Shorrock added: 'The dramatic increase in breeding buzzard numbers in Norfolk and Suffolk during the last 20 years has been a great conservation success story. We would urge anyone with information to contact the police or ourselves.'

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