Shot buzzard could have suffered for days, say police and RSPB

Police and RSPB officers are appealing for information after a buzzard was shot in Dereham. X-ray im

Police and RSPB officers are appealing for information after a buzzard was shot in Dereham. X-ray image shows the bird's body peppered with shotgun pellets. - Credit: Submitted

A buzzard found shot and injured by the roadside in the Dereham area has prompted a joint appeal for information from police and RSPB officers.

The wounded bird of prey was found by a member of the public and taken to Larwood and Kennedy Veterinary Practice in Dereham on January 2.

An x-ray examination revealed the buzzard had been shot, resulting in the bones in both wings being smashed. Vets believed the bird had been shot several days before it was found and, due to the extent of its injuries, it had to be put down.

Police are keen to trace the person who handed in the wounded bird, who did not leave a name, as they can help locate exactly where the buzzard was found.

Wildlife crime officer PC David Armstrong said: 'Raptor persecution is treated very seriously by Norfolk Constabulary; it is illegal and is one of the UK priorities for wildlife crime.

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'We work closely with other agencies when incidents of wildlife crime are reported to us and will always ensure reports are investigated.'

Veterinary surgeon George Gould who examined the bird said: 'It is saddening and disappointing to see that these sorts of thing are still occurring. These sorts of injuries in particular do not tend to be immediately fatal but instead result in days of suffering.'

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Duncan McNiven, senior Investigations officer for the RSPB said: 'It is just callous vandalism to shoot a protected species like this and then leave it to face a lingering death by starvation.

'Buzzards have only recently re-colonised Norfolk after a century of persecution. People delight in seeing Buzzards soaring over the Norfolk countryside again so it is sickening that the bird has been gunned down like this.'

'The RSPB recently published its annual Birdcrime report which called for increased penalties to be made available to the courts to act as a proper deterrent for these kinds of offences. This incident is a clear example of why the government needs to act.'

Anyone with information on this or any other wildlife crime should contact the police on 101, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or the RSPB investigations team on 01767 680551.

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