The goshawk in the cage trap. Photo: North Yorkshire Police

The goshawk in the cage trap. Photo: North Yorkshire Police

Police in North Yorkshire are appealing for information after being passed a video of what appears to be the illegal killing of a bird of prey.

Officer said the footage shows a goshawk being caught in a cage trap at a site on Howl Moor near Goathland in the North York Moors national park.

Shortly afterwards, a person is seen entering the trap and appearing to deliberately kill the raptor and taking its body away in a bag. The person’s face is obscured.

The footage is from the early hours of Saturday, 2 May, this year.

North Yorkshire has one of the worst records for illegal raptor killing and persecution in England.

North Yorkshire Police wildlife crime officer Jeremy Walmsley urged anyone with information to come forward. He said: “The goshawk is one of the most protected species of bird in the UK and it is extremely distressing that an individual would choose to kill any bird of prey.

“I appeal to anyone with information about this horrific crime to get in touch with the police and help us to find the person responsible for the death of this magnificent bird.

“We see far too many incidents of birds of prey killed or injured in North Yorkshire and as a police force we are doing all we can to put a stop to this inhumane and callous crime.”

Andy Wilson, chief executive of the North York Moors National Park Authority said: “We are deeply saddened to hear about this incident.

“Goshawks were persecuted to extinction in the UK in the late 19th century and, despite an improvement in numbers, persecution and habitat loss remain a constant threat to their survival.

“Killing or injuring a bird of prey is illegal, cruel and must be prosecuted wherever possible. We are working alongside the police to support them in their investigations and we would strongly urge any witnesses or anyone who has any information to come forward. With your help the offender(s) can be brought to justice.”

A cage trap can be used to catch certain species of birds and is designed to trap birds alive and unharmed, in case of any non-target species becoming caught. Any non-target birds, such as birds of prey, should be released as soon as possible after being caught. Killing a bird of prey is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Police said anyone who has information that could help the investigation, should call 101 quoting reference: 12200073462 or can remain anonymous by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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