Police raid estate over dead birds

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The Independent Online

An estate in the Highlands was raided by police yesterday after a number of birds of prey, believed to have been poisoned, were found dead in the area.

Northern Constabulary said they had recovered several dead birds in the past month, such as red kites and other protected species, in the Moy area, near Inverness. A grouse carcass found in the area has tested positive for an illegal poison, officers said.

The RSPB said one of the red kites had been tagged and adopted by a local school, which was monitoring its progress online. Suspicions arose when the signal from the bird stopped moving.

A team of 25 police, joined by investigators from the RSPB, the Scottish SPCA and Scottish Natural Heritage searched outbuildings, vehicles and a large area of open ground. Recovered items are being analysed.

The number of birds recovered has not been disclosed.

Chief Inspector Andy MacLean, area commander for Inverness, said: "Wildlife crime is a blight on the environment and a serious concern to the public."

Stuart Housden, the director of RSPB Scotland, said: "Serious crimes against our most spectacular birds and wildlife are utterly deplorable, and do major harm to our reputation as a country that values and cares for its wildlife and natural environment.

"There is a growing body of compelling evidence which abundantly demonstrates the scale and impact that illegal poisoning is having on the populations of iconic birds of prey such as the red kite and golden eagle."