Young peregrine shot in Devon

Devon & Cornwall Police are appealing for information after a peregrine was found shot in Ipplepen, south Devon, in August.

The young bird (hatched this year from a coastal site in Devon) was found with an injured wing on 23 August 2016. An x-ray revealed an air rifle pellet had caused fractures and the bird is currently in the care of a wildlife rehabilitator. Whether it recovers sufficiently to be released back to the wild remains to be seen.



This incident is now subject to a police investigation and Devon and Cornwall’s Police Wildlife Crime Officer Josh Marshall is appealing to anyone who can help to contact them with information that will assist in locating the offenders.

He said: ‘These types of investigation are incredibly hard to investigate as very often there are no witnesses or lines of enquiry. It is clear that someone in the local community will hold the key to what has taken place.

This Peregrine Falcon will have been shot by someone having a clear motive to destroy this rare bird of prey. The community in this area need to be aware of this incident and every effort should be made to bring the offender to justice.

Within the community of Ipplepen are extremely privileged to have such magnificent birds on doorstep. I am calling on those residents to stand up, come forward and report to me any concerns or suspicions they have around those that may be responsible for such an act.

The RSPB is offering a reward of £1000 for information leading to a conviction.

Tony Whitehead, speaking for the RSPB in the south west said: “We know that Devon has long been a bird of prey persecution black spot and the area where these birds were found has seen five such incidents over the past 25 years alone. We need to stop this.

Whatever drives a person to do this, it’s important to understand that killing birds of prey is not only barbaric, it is also against the law. This makes the perpetrators, however they seek to justify their behaviour, no more than common criminals and we’d expect them to be treated as such.

The incident at Ipplepen follows a long history of persecution within the local area. Nowhere else in Devon do birds of prey suffer as they do in the Teignbridge area”.

Confirmed poisoning incidents within the Teignbridge area over the last 25 years

1992 Two Peregrine Falcons located dead along with poisoned bait

2000 Peregrine Falcon located dead, poisoned

2005 Peregrine Falcon and poisoned bait found

2005 Live pigeon covered in poison left as bait for Peregrine Falcons

2011 Peregrine Falcon – poisoned

If you have any information that can help the police with their investigations of this crime, please contact 101@dc.police.uk or call 101, quoting reference CR/069253/16

Information can also be passed on anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.



15 Responses to “Young peregrine shot in Devon”

  1. 1 rabarnett
    September 30, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    Is there a moor where grouse are shot in the vicinity ?

  2. 2 Doug Malpus
    September 30, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Most likely a pheasant killing zone!

    • 3 Thomas David Dick
      October 1, 2016 at 8:27 pm

      I believe there is a long “tradition” of raptor killing by pigeon fanciers in Devon….you wont get many gamekeepers using an air rifle…

  3. 4 mike
    September 30, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    I can sympathise that the shooting of birds of prey must be incredibly difficult to investigate.

    I have looked and see that it can be done.
    Sspca in Scotland have managed it.


    Surely another example of why they should be given additional powers………

  4. September 30, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    Hope it makes a full recovery and returns to the wild OK.

  5. October 1, 2016 at 5:48 am

    There is always some ‘bastard’ out there with a gun ready to destroy anything they can, pityu they don’t shoot each other.

  6. 8 dave angel
    October 1, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Air rifle pellet injury seems unusual for a peregrine.

  7. October 1, 2016 at 8:54 am

    What a magnificent bird. There is no excuse for such barbarity. Trust this bird makes a full recovery.

  8. 10 S TUCKER
    October 1, 2016 at 10:09 am

    The answer for stopping this element of illegal activity is better gun controls. Nobody “needs” a shotgun, air rifle or air pistol. Lots of people “want” them, and they will have all sorts of excuses: keeping down “vermin”, clay pigeon shooting, target shooting, grouse, pheasant and partridge shooting.

    Guns should be kept under lock and key at police stations and signed out for a specific legitimate purpose, with a defined amount of ammunition, marked in some way that the user can be identified when or if it is found in the commission of a crime. Of course, there will be criminals who will have their guns, but all these other shooters are law-abiding, according to their own propaganda, so they should have no complaint. Naturally, there should be a gun licence that carries the full cost of administering the system: something the police have asked for but the Tories refused because it is their criminal brethren who would be most affected.

  9. 11 Andy S
    October 1, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    Now this IS my neck of the woods for a change. Firstly, although all wildlife crime is to be condemned, I would say that with just five documented cases in a twenty five year period, it is hardly a wildlife crime hotspot and actually gets off pretty lightly compared to a lot of other areas.To answer rabarnett above, to my knowledge there are no grouse shooting operations here or anywhere else in Devon, including Dartmoor and Exmoor. Nor have there been any breeding hen harriers for many decades. As Doug quite rightly states though, there are currently bloody pheasants everywhere! Pheasants, however, are unlikely to be the reason for the latest incident or, for that matter, the previous ones. Taking the information in the report, most incidents involve Peregrines, usually involve poison and the latest incident involved an air rifle ( not a shotgun ). There was also an incident a few years ago where a whole family of Goshawks were poisoned in Haldon forest which, although classed as Exeter, is on the border of the Teignbridge area. The culprits, of course, wouldn’t know the difference between the two species anyway. Anything with talons. For those of you who have worked it out, answers on a postcard to the local P.F A

  10. 13 SOG
    October 3, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    Why did it take so long for the Cops to issue the appeal? Walkers and birdwatchers who were in the area will likely have gone home long before. Someone’s dashcam footage showing something suspicious will be overwritten. Memories fade.

    I’d call it wasted time.

    • 14 PC 1776 Josh Marshall
      October 8, 2016 at 8:01 am

      SOG. The appeal was delayed as 2 other birds in the nearby area were also found dead shortly before this and I was awaiting toxicology reports to confirm cause of death. Ultimately we would need a witness to see this bird being shot. Therefore for a realistic chance of prosecution I would have expected a call at the time. This was an appeal for intelligence that may have resulted in obtaining a warrant to search

  11. April 10, 2017 at 3:05 am

    I wonder if it might have been someone who raises and races pigeons? Who else would have a motive?

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