The dead peregrine falcon was discovered north of Hebden

The dead peregrine falcon was discovered north of Hebden

A dead peregrine falcon has been found by a walker in the Yorkshire Dales.

The bird, which was discovered in Hebden Gill, east of Grassington, died because of shotgun wounds, police said.

Officers are appealing for witnesses to the crime or any other information that will lead them to finding the culprit responsible for the illegal shooting of the bird of prey.

The body was found by a member of the public at the side of the footpath up Hebden Gill, north of the hamlet of Hebden.

North Yorkshire Police said PC Simon Crossley, wildlife crime officer for the Craven district, went to the scene and recovered a female peregrine falcon with apparent gunshot wounds to one of its wings. A spokesperson said: “The bird appeared in very good condition despite its injuries.

“The bird has been examined by a local vet and x-rays have confirmed the presence of shotgun pellets which have caused major trauma. These injuries would have caused the death of the bird.”

Peregrine falcons are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Police are appealing for information that would help them identify who is responsible for the killing of the Falcon.

Anyone with information is asked to contact North Yorkshire Police via 101 and quote crime reference number 12160181442.

North Yorkshire has an unenviable reputation for raptor persecution. In June, a shot red kite was found at Timble Ings near Fewston Reservoir, not far from a similar discovery the previous month.

In July, North Yorkshire Police admitted it had been wrong not to pursue a prosecution through the courts of a junior gamekeeper who admitted setting illegal cruel traps on the Mossdale Estate near Hawes. He was given a police caution for the offence.

The incident prompted the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority chairman Peter Charlesworth to say: “At a time when the Yorkshire Dales is receiving such widespread recognition as a wonderful place to visit, it’s incredibly disappointing that the criminal persecution of birds of prey continues to damage the reputation of the area.

“We know that birds of prey are a big attraction to the millions of visitors that come here, so these acts are causing economic damage as well as appalling harm to wildlife.”

A pair of peregrine falcons regularly nest at Malham Cove, 12km (7 miles) west of Hebden, drawing hundreds of visitors to view them raise their chicks each year.

In May, North Yorkshire Police revealed eight red kites, including one of those near Fewston, had died from either shooting or suspected poisoning.

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