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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 October 2007, 00:07 GMT
Prince quizzed over bird shooting
Prince Harry
Clarence House says the prince has no knowledge of the shooting
Prince Harry has been interviewed by police about the shooting of protected birds, it has emerged.

The prince has been questioned by police in Norfolk.

They are investigating a report that two hen harriers were killed on the edge of the royal family's Sandringham estate last week.

A spokeswoman for Clarence House said the prince and a friend were in the area at the time but had no knowledge of the incident.

A conservation worker with the government agency Natural England saw the two birds being shot on Wednesday of last week.

Hen harrier
It is the most persecuted bird of prey in the UK, says the RSPB

It is understood that the interview with the prince was not held at a police station.

The killing of a hen harrier is a crime which carries a fine of up to 5,000 or six months in prison.

There are only 20 pairs in England, although there are more elsewhere in the UK.

By preying on grouse, hen harriers have become targets for people trying to protect stocks of grouse on hunting estates.

Norfolk police say their inquiries are continuing and they are urging anyone with information to get in touch.

HEN HARRIERS
They are the most persecuted of the UK's birds of prey
Scotland has the UK's largest population of hen harriers (633)
They eat mainly small birds and mammals
Hen harriers migrate to the UK from Scandinavia in the winter
There are 749 nesting pairs in the UK
Source: RSPB

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds described the hen harrier as the "most persecuted bird in England".

Spokesman Grahame Madge said: "It is illegal killing that is keeping the population at a low level. The population should be ten times higher than it is.

"It is a matter of routine on some estates that these birds are shot.

"We are involved in this investigation advising on ornithological issues."



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