West Mercia Police issue appeal following death of peregrine falcon bird in Clee Hill, Shropshire

Male_peregrine_poisoned_at_Clee_Hill_2015West Mercia Police are appealing to the public for information after it was confirmed that a peregrine falcon had been found dead in a quarry in Clee Hill, Shropshire. The male peregrine had been poisoned.

There have been previous problems in this area with two peregrines poisoned in 2010 and another in 2011. Over the last few years the Shropshire Peregrine Group (SPG) has been organising volunteers to keep an eye on the location. On the 15 June this year a volunteer reported a dead adult male peregrine at the base of the breeding cliff. The body was recovered by the RSPB and passed to Natural England in order that toxicology tests could be arranged. These have since confirmed the bird was poisoned by diazinon, the same product as in previous incidents.

Peregrines are fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and anyone convicted of killing these birds could receive up to six months in prison and/or a fine.

The RSPB and the SPG have offered a reward of £1000 for information leading to the conviction of anyone involved in this incident.

John Turner of the SPG said: “This is yet another tragic incident at this site. The female parent also disappeared and we are concerned she may have also been poisoned. The situation was made even worse as the two chicks in the nest also died with the loss of the parents.”

Wildlife Crime Officer for West Mercia Police, Constable Julian Ward said: “There have been previous incidents in this area and the illegal use of poison poses a risk to wildlife and to people. We believe somebody in the local community will have information about who is involved and we would urge them to contact police.”

Information can be reported to West Mercia Police on 101 quoting reference 649S of the 15/06/2015. You can also give information anonymously to Crimestoppers UKCrimestoppers or

5 comments to West Mercia Police issue appeal following death of peregrine falcon bird in Clee Hill, Shropshire

  • It has been going on for years as I have knowledge of the whole sorry affair, these Peregrines have been persecuted and killed and sadly the police have done very little to catch the culprits and yet again appealed for help when it is far to late.
    Somebody is covering for these scumbags which makes them as guilty as the people they are protecting.
    We are all fighting an uphill battle where Raptor Persecution is concerned as not only are the people who do it very cunning the WCO’s are only part time, their full time role being policemen in the main. It will happen again and again until these Peregrines are wiped out altogether, if they haven’t been already, this is only the tip of the iceberg, the government certainly have no interest in it, they would wipe out everything if it was left to them it is disgraceful.
    I will continue to fight for these birds and name and shame those who do it when possible until I have no breath left in my body. Every time I rescue a raptor and manage to release it I wonder how long it will survive before it is shot, poisoned or something even worse happens to it as for the last few weeks all we can hear are guns going off around us as Pheasants are driven to the guns and slaughtered, I am sick of it all.

  • ros berrington

    Agree with you Chrissy,it is so disheartening when volunteers put their time and efforts into protecting peregrines and they are systematically being destroyed by probably the same few individuals with impunity.We are on an uphill battle and then every now and then you get a positive story like the 2 stolen chicks that were recovered and introduced to a nest with a similar aged brood.All 4 chicks fledged successfully,let’s hope they are allowed to mature and breed.

  • Jon L

    The RSPB have not done much to help at this site either ! In 2006 they attempted an Aren’t Birds Brilliant event in the quarry only 100 yards from the nest and i wrote to Graham Wynne with my concerns about this at the time . As far as i know the RSPB have never put a 24 hour watch on this site despite all the persecution ; hypocrites ! Another site in south Shrophire was robbed 10 years in a row and obviously not much was done about that either .

    The RSPB only employ 8 full time crime investigators which is odd for a charity which boasts 1 million members . How much money do they actually spend on bird protection each year and how many millions do they collect from membership subscriptions ?

    At the BTO conference 2014 an RSPB employee announced that they were waiting for a change in government before making further plans to combat raptor persecution . They could be waiting a very long time ! What a cop out !

    It is not all bad news though as many raptor species populations are on the rise or stable ( inc. peregrines ) . But we can do a lot better ! It appears to me that the fight against raptor persecution is very fragmented . The Royal Society for the PROTECTION of Birds should take the lead here , stop being so political and pull everyone together .

    Editor’s Comment. Jon, the main reason why the English peregrine population appears stable is due to the fact that peregrines are taking up new territories inside our cities and on structures normally not regarded as natural nesting sites like bridges, old or disused buildings and on many of our churches or cathedrals. These increases have made up for the disappearances of most nesting peregrines from northern England’s red grouse moorlands. For example inside London it has been estimated there are in excess of 25 breeding pairs. On the other hand numbers of breeding peregrines which existed in 2009 inside the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire have been reduced by 18 breeding pairs in just 5 years. Only 6 pairs attempted to breed this year in this moorland region used to shoot game,sadly only a single pair were successful.

  • Jon L

    Thanks for the info . Why has the Forest of Bowland become such a hopeless place for raptors in recent years ? To lose 18 pairs of peregrines in just 5 years is shocking !

    Editor’s Comment. Jon, the main reason is politics. In 2010 after the North West Raptor Group had published details of raptor persecution taking place in the Forest of Bowland via social media and on this web site, Natural England withheld peregrine and hen harrier group licenses for use throughout this region. We believe this was done to protect the interests of estate owners in Bowland by attempting to keep this criminal activity out of the public domain.

    Between 2010 and 2014 no less than 17 occupied peregrine territories were recorded as abandoned by the NWRG, with the disappearance of 34 peregrines from those abandoned sites, ALL PRESUMED SHOT. An RSPB spokesperson wrote in the Lancashire Life Magazine the ‘losses were a result of poor climatic conditions and a the lack of food.’ On the other hand as we know the RSPB this season did not claim the same reasons for the disappearance of the 5 missing male hen harriers. This seems curious, as the lost harriers were all breeding in the same moorland area as the peregrines, and subjected the the same weather conditions and the food availability.

    The RSPB, Natural England and United Utilities were upset when the NWRG reported a small number of licence holders to Natural England for breaching licence conditions, i.e., visiting hen harrier and peregrine nests without first coordinating visits as required, and making unnecessary nest visits. The group also reported to Natural England a witnessed incident involving 3 licensed individuals who were observed disturbing a ground nesting peregrine, keeping the adult falcons off their nest for a minimum of one hour twenty minutes. Natural England replied to this valid complaint by informing the two witnesses ‘stop wasting our time.’

    I trust this condensed explanation helps you understand the politics at play in Bowland, politics which are not in the interests of the bird? Finally, bear this fact in mind, the detail concerning the abandoned peregrine sites inside Bowland have not been recorded by the RSPB within their annual Crime Report as even suspicious, why you may ask? The reason is simple, the RSPB have a vested interest in Bowland, the appalling statistics being revealed by the NWRG are an embarrassment not only to the RSPB who are unable to stop the killing of raptors in Bowland, but also an embarrassment to estates, their gamekeepers, and Natural England who removed the licenses from the one experienced raptor group who could have made a difference but were stopped from doing so.

  • Brian Leecy

    Some one must have an idea who is behind this appalling state of affairs,it’s obviously being carried out by the same culprits ! My heart go,s out to those volunteers who have watched at this site,I know from personal experience how difficult it can be to monitor nest sites.