Devon and Cornwall third worst for bird of prey crime

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Devon and Cornwall is the third worst region in England for the killing of birds of prey, according to the RSPB.

Fifty-seven incidents have been recorded since 1990, including the shooting, trapping or poisoning of peregrine falcons and buzzards.

North Yorkshire had the highest number of attacks on birds with 64, with West Mercia and Northumbria regions close behind, said the conservation charity.

Killing birds of prey was made illegal 50 years ago.

Egg collecting

Cumbria was the fifth worst place in England, with 47 recorded incidents.

Tony Whitehead from the South West branch of the RSPB said: "Over the past 20 years we've witnessed some particularly appalling crimes against birds of prey in Devon and Cornwall.

"Although buzzards and peregrines are often the target, other species sadly do not escape attention.

" Last year a barn owl was found dead near Portscatho in Cornwall and X-rays revealed that it had been shot."

The RSPB said the number of egg-collecting crimes had declined since 1980, but that the number of attacks on birds of prey was still a problem.

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