07
May
21

Police appeal as peregrines believed to have been poisoned again at notorious Shropshire blackspot

Press release from West Mercia Police (6th May 2021)

Appeal following protected bird deaths

On the morning of Saturday 1 May, officers received information that a female peregrine had been found dead on the hillside below the nest near to Clee Hill Quarry.

PC Grant said: “The body was recovered together with a pigeon that had been used as bait. The male bird has not been found, but is also believed to have been killed. The baited pigeon at the scene indicates that poison was used to kill both birds. The incident is currently under investigation by both West Mercia Police and RSPB Investigations.

[This is a photograph of another peregrine found poisoned at this site in 2017 (see here). Photo by RSPB]

Peregrine Falcons are specifically protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, and the maximum penalty for killing or deliberately injuring a protected species is a fine of £5,000 and six months imprisonment.

We are asking members of the public walking on Clee Hill common with children and pets to be aware and to take care that poison bait may still be around and not to touch any dead animals that they may come across if they do see any such animals or anything suspicious, to please call police.  

If anyone has any information regarding this incident please contact the police on 101 and quote incident number 258i of 1 May 2021 or contact us via our ‘Tell us about’ section on our website.”

If you do have information but don’t feel comfortable speaking to police, you can speak to the independent charity Crimestoppers. It is 100% anonymous, they never ask your name and they cannot trace your call or I.P address. You can contact them online or by calling 0800 555 111.

ENDS

There is also an article in the Shropshire Star (here) about this latest poisoning crime at Clee Hill. It’s well worth a read and includes commentary from John Turner, Chair of the Shropshire Peregrine Group, about the use of tethered pigeons smeared with poison to lure the peregrines and how this has happened over and over again at this site (2010, 2011, 2015, 2017, 2021)…

We are shocked that it’s happened again. The deadly poison being used is a danger to people walking their dogs and to animals in the area and somehow we are going to have to inform Defra to get the place decontaminated as it should not be scattered in the countryside like it has been and is contaminating the moorland where these pigeons were found.

On Wednesday evening another poisoned pigeon was found along with a dead fox which had eaten it.

We know who is responsible, and local people know who is responsible. I urge local residents of Clee Hill to call out the individuals responsible for these crimes, many of whom are well known in the area, and provide the police with information about their criminal activities which are bringing shame to the village.”

 “It [the female peregrine] was found by the site warden on Saturday morning. There was the body of a poisoned pigeon very near the dead female peregrine. The male will have been killed as well but we have not recovered the body yet.

We think this is a repeat of what happened four years ago in 2017. We thought we had put a stop to it. We have had at least a dozen peregrines poisoned since 2010 – we have lost about a quarter of the Shropshire population of about 40 peregrines.

ENDS

In previous poisoning offences at Clee Hill the toxin Diazinon has been used. Suspicion has been laid at the door of the local pigeon racing community but nobody has ever been prosecuted.

Previous blogs on these poisoning crimes here, here, here, here


10 Responses to “Police appeal as peregrines believed to have been poisoned again at notorious Shropshire blackspot”


  1. 1 Sue Bliss
    May 7, 2021 at 6:39 am

    So presumably given previous reports the xxxxx xxxxx are at it again. No doubt that will be redacted, given the ongoing police investigation. If everyone knows who it is but they are getting away with it, then there is something terribly wrong with our judicial system. Our wildlife doesn’t stand a chance with so many depraved people and groups who just love to kill. How you can love one species but kill another is of course a position taken by people lacking integrity. And then of course there is the crime of possessing poisonous substances. That in itself is extremely worrying.

    If this government – who let’s face it does not revere wildlife – doesn’t properly resource wildlife crime, we, the public will have to mobilise. If we don’t I fear our wildlife will be eradicated.

    • 2 Keith Dancey
      May 7, 2021 at 4:36 pm

      And yet a Government ‘who does not revere wildlife’ has just done this (from the RSPCA):

      “This week, the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill – which increases the maximum sentencing under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 from six months to five years – passed its final stage and will, tomorrow (Thursday 29 April), receive Royal Assent and pass into law. The Bill is expected to come into force later this year meaning that courts will then have the flexibility to impose tougher sentences for the worst animal abusers.”

      I might say ‘does not revere wildlife enough’ and add that the Queen is Patron of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association and the National Flying Club.

      • 3 Dougie
        May 8, 2021 at 9:43 am

        “This week, the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill – which increases the maximum sentencing under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 from six months to five years – passed its final stage and will, tomorrow (Thursday 29 April), receive Royal Assent and pass into law. The Bill is expected to come into force later this year meaning that courts will then have the flexibility to impose tougher sentences for the worst animal abusers.”

        All the low life thugs will be trembling in their boots at the thought of that little law change.

      • 4 Paul V Irving
        May 10, 2021 at 2:50 pm

        This means I think that police can use surveillance in wildlife crime prevention and detection of culprits. Surely a move we all welcome.

  2. 5 Jimmy
    May 7, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    Local pigeon clubs will know all about who done this – a look at their social media activties is always revealing…

  3. 6 Coop
    May 7, 2021 at 7:15 pm

    I’m sure these fine gentlemen would be only too willing to assist with the investigation…

    [Ed: link removed. You’re probably spot on, Coop but I’m not going to encourage a pile-on and this is still a live investigation]

  4. 8 Brian Leecy
    May 7, 2021 at 8:34 pm

    And this pair of Peregrine’s will probably have been on eggs or even young now,and yes someone knows exactly who are behind this .

  5. 9 John L
    May 8, 2021 at 7:28 am

    Having read the accusations being made against certain elements of the residents of Clee Hill, and the suspicion this is linked to the local pigeon racing community. I find it very odd that the Royal Pigeon Racing Association appear not to have made any comments in the media about this dreadful incident, or whether they will be introducing sanctions should it be discovered that one of their members was responsible?? One would hope any pigeon fancier convicted of raptor persecution crimes would face a lifetime ban from RPRA membership or entering any of their events?


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