Officers from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Rural Operational Support Team (ROST) are appealing for witnesses and information after a buzzard was found seriously injured.
The bird was found by a member of the public in a track leading off Ledgemore Lane, Great Gaddesden, Hemel Hempstead on Wednesday, September 6.
The bird was recovered and examined by a veterinary surgeon. It was concluded that the bird had been shot and sadly, due to the severity of its injuries, the animal had to be put to sleep.
PC Simon Tibbett, from ROST, said: “All British wild birds, their nests and their eggs are protected under The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
“Therefore it is an offence to shoot a buzzard or interfere with their nests in any way and punishable by a fine or up to six months in jail. As a bird of prey, buzzard persecution is monitored by DEFRA and the National Wildlife Crime Unit as Raptor Persecution is a National Wildlife Crime Priority.
“We take wildlife crime very seriously in Hertfordshire and we are keen to trace those responsible for this offence. I would urge anyone with information to please get in touch.”
Jenny Shelton, Investigations Liaison Officer at the RSPB, said: “I think we speak for most people when we say we are angry and saddened to hear that someone has shot this bird.
She added: “Our UK population of buzzards dropped during the 20th century due to unlawful killing, and sadly persecution is still a problem even today. If you know anything about this incident, please contact police on 101 or the RSPB Investigations team on 01767 680551.
Anyone who has witnessed people shooting or carrying hunting rifles in the area, or has any further information, should contact PC Simon Tibbett on Hertfordshire Constabulary’s non-emergency number 101, quoting reference D1/17/7143.
Alternatively, if you have any information about this incident you can contact the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will never need to go to court.
The ROST is a team of police officers specialised in dealing with crimes concerning rural and agricultural issues, wildlife, the local environment and the county’s heritage. The ROST also deals with traveller liaison issues. They support local Safer Neighbourhood Teams and Intervention officers, and can investigate any crimes from badger baiting, hare coursing, the theft of red diesel and nighthawking, to stolen plant equipment, criminal damage and the theft of metal from historical buildings.