Page last updated at 09:08 GMT, Tuesday, 2 June 2009 10:08 UK

Attempt to poison bird of prey

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine falcons are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act

A pigeon was laced with poison and tethered to a brick in a Cumbrian quarry in an attempt to kill peregrine falcons, police have said.

Staff from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) alerted officers to the incident on Monday.

The pigeon died after being tied down to prevent it flying away in Salterhall Quarry, near Rowrah, Frizington.

Cumbria Police said they were working with the RSPB and Natural England to trace those responsible.

A Cumbria force spokesman said: "The quarry had previously been used for similar illegal activity in April this year and in previous years.

"Pesticide abuse is used to target birds of prey, but can also be indiscriminate with pets also likely to suffer if they come in contact with the bait.

"There are also serious health risks to humans who may come into contact with it."

There are about 1,500 breeding pairs of peregrine falcons in the United Kingdom.

The falcons feed on medium-sized birds, such as wading birds, pigeons and small ducks.

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