BBC BLOGS - Open Secrets
« Previous | Main | Next »

Harry and the hen harriers - or perhaps not

Martin Rosenbaum | 19:12 UK time, Friday, 11 January 2008

Last October it was reported that two hen harriers, rare birds of prey, had been shot illegally on the edge of the royal estate at Sandringham, Norfolk, and that Prince Harry had been questioned about the incident.

The police investigation was instigated after a nature warden working for Natural England on a nearby reserve reported he had seen two of the protected birds fall from the sky after being shot.

After the Crown Prosecution Service decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute, the Sandringham estate issued a statement suggesting there was doubt about whether any such birds had actually been shot. A different view is taken by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Press reporting has diverged - you can take your pick between the Guardian and the Sunday Telegraph, with no prizes for guessing who takes which line.

The BBC has now obtained from Natural England a copy of the statement from their staff member who claimed to have witnessed the incident. You can read it for yourself.

This was received through a request under the Environmental Information Regulations. We also obtained internal emails in which Natural England management discussed the matter. The agency's chief executive Helen Phillips told her staff that 'we should go in very hard, once we have evidence'.

Another email reports that Natural England staff on the reserve have been experiencing 'very difficult conditions' in terms of their relations with workers on the Sandringham estate.

Comments   Post your comment

This post is closed to new comments.

More from this blog...

Latest contributors

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.