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Shot peregrine falcon found in County Durham

Last modified: 02 July 2015

Adult peregrine in flight

Image: Steve Round

Durham police and the RSPB have launched an appeal for information after a peregrine falcon was found shot in Bishop Middleham, County Durham last month.

The RSPB is offering a £1000 reward to any person who can provide information that leads to a successful conviction.

The male bird was found alive on the 4 June at Castle Lake, Bishop Middleham, a local nature reserve managed by Durham Bird Club. The bird of prey was taken to a local vet for further examination and an x-ray that confirmed that the bird had been shot. The injuries were so severe that the bird was later euthanised. It is not known if the male was part of a breeding pair in the area.

The peregrine falcon is the world’s fastest animal, capable of speeds of up to 200mph when descending in flight. As a wild bird it has been protected by law since 1954 and anyone found guilty of an offence faces up to a maximum of 6 months in prison and/or a £5000 fine.

RSPB Investigations Officer, Howard Jones, commented: “This is another confirmed incident of bird of prey persecution in the County Durham area. Raptor persecution involving the shooting, poisoning, illegal trapping and nest destruction of birds of prey is one of the government’s top national wildlife crime priorities and every incident likes this increases the public’s intolerance towards this sort of criminal behaviour.”

PC Ken Barclay, the local Beat Officer for Bishop Middleham, said: “I would strongly urge any member of the community who has any information as to the identity of the perpetrator of this cruel act to contact either the RSPB or Durham Police and ask to speak with PC2106 Barclay or alternatively to email PC Barclay on”

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