A FIREARM, pesticides and a number of dead birds of prey have been seized after a raid by wildlife crime officers.

The rural property in east Dorset was targeted as part of an investigation that was launched after a Red Kite bird of prey was found dead in a field in the north east of the county in November last year.

Dorset Police wildlife crime officers have been working closely with the Police National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU), Natural England and the RSPB during the investigation, which was sparked after a member of the public found the dead bird and it was sent for forensic analysis at a specialist laboratory.

The results of the post mortem indicated the bird had been poisoned.

On Thursday, March 18, 2021 officers, accompanied by NWCU, Natural England and the RSPB, attended an address in rural north east Dorset, having obtained a warrant under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

A number of dead birds of prey and several pesticides, including banned substances, were located at the premises. A firearm was also recovered.

Police Constable Claire Dinsdale, lead wildlife crime officer for Dorset Police, said: “This investigation is ongoing and no further information or comment can be made at this time regards this specific case.

"The national picture is that the persecution of birds of prey sadly continues in the UK.

"This is one of our six national priorities for wildlife crime, highlighted on the National Wildlife Crime Unit’s website https://www.nwcu.police.uk/.

"A great deal of work has already been done by police and partner organisations but still there are those who think they are above the law.

"The deliberate killing of birds of prey will not be tolerated.

"We have had previous cases in Dorset of illegal shooting and trapping as well as poisoning."

Constable Dinsdale has urged the public to be vigilant and report dead birds of prey to police.

"Clear evidence of a wildlife crime, such as an illegal trap, shooting or suspected poison bait should be reported immediately to police without delay," she said. "A ‘What Three Words’ location or grid reference is really useful.

“If a dead bird of prey is located and you are not sure whether it is suspicious or not, still report it to police immediately.

"We can access assistance from vets to examine and X-ray birds and submit them for forensic testing, therefore ruling out natural causes.

"Police can access forensic funding for such wildlife crime cases."