Page last updated at 17:17 GMT, Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Appeal after red kites are shot in Northamptonshire


Red kites are a protected species and it is illegal to disturb the birds

A spate of shootings of red kites in Northamptonshire has led to a joint appeal for information by bird charity RSPB and the police.

In the most recent case, the bird was found shot dead on farmland near the Top Lodge centre in Fineshade Wood, near Corby, shortly after Christmas.

It had recently been released by the centre, which had nicknamed it Special K as it was a "cereal" visitor.

Between 2005 and 2009 there have been three confirmed shootings of red kites.

'Cruel and unacceptable'

Officers have also found one bird which had been poisoned.

Claire Salmon, Northamptonshire Police's wildlife liaison officer, said: "Shooting birds of prey is a cruel and unacceptable act, but unfortunately it seems to still take place.

"I would urge anyone who has any information, witnesses a shooting or finds such birds dead, to make contact with us or RSPB."

Red kites are a protected species and it is illegal to disturb the birds while they are nesting or at any other time.

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