Tyne & Wear

Buzzards fatally shot in Northumberland

Shot buzzard Image copyright RSPB
Image caption One of the birds was found near the River Derwent at Blanchland

Two birds of prey have died after being shot in Northumberland.

The buzzards were killed in separate shootings over the past month, Northumbria Police said.

The first happened on 25 April in Steel, near Hexham, while the second was reported on 14 May in nearby Blanchland.

Birds of prey are protected by law under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, with offenders facing up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to £5,000.

The first bird was found wounded and taken to a wildlife sanctuary but had to be put down.

The second bird was found dead near the river Derwent.

PC Lee Davison said: "The persecution of birds of prey like buzzards is quite rightly an emotive issue and I want reassure the public that we take it very seriously.

"It is a criminal offence and, where possible, we will always look to identify offenders and put them before the courts."

Jenny Shelton from the RSPB added: "Buzzards are beautiful birds which bring pleasure to many and are a crucial part of our natural landscapes and ecosystems.

"All birds of prey are protected by law, yet buzzards, peregrines, red kites and other birds of prey are being illegally killed in Northumberland, and other upland areas in the UK."

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