Page last updated at 15:53 GMT, Wednesday, 12 May 2010 16:53 UK

Police probe birds of prey deaths in Sutherland

Golden eagle
The dead golden eagles were found over the past week

The deaths of three golden eagles and other birds of prey in East Sutherland are being investigated by police.

The raptors have been sent for forensic analysis at a laboratory in Edinburgh.

Bosses at Skibo Castle, where singer Madonna married in December 2000, said it had been advised of birds' remains being found on, or near, its land.

Northern Constabulary said: "Inquiries are ongoing and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."

The force said it was working closely with the RSPB, Scottish Natural Heritage and the National Wildlife Crime Unit.

The dead birds - which also include sparrowhawk and buzzard - were found over the past week.

'Deeply disturbing'

RSPB Scotland said: "Subject to confirmation by the authorities, this is an extremely serious incident."

The Scottish Estates Business Group, which represents rural estates throughout Scotland, said news of the deaths was "deeply disturbing".

A spokesman added: "Estates and land managers throughout Scotland will be utterly appalled.

"If it transpires these birds have been poisoned then the full weight of the law should be brought to bear on those responsible."

Skibo Castle confirmed it was working with the authorities.

A spokesman said: "We have been advised by the authorities that the remains of birds of prey have been found on or near our property.

"The owners and management of Skibo Castle are committed conservationists and do everything they can to support the welfare of wildlife and birds. We will cooperate fully with the authorities in their investigation."

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Herald Scotland Police probe deaths of eagles - 9 hrs ago
The Independent Police investigate golden eagle deaths - 16 hrs ago
Times Online Poison fears as three golden eagles found dead in East Sutherland - 17 hrs ago Police investigating deaths of three golden eagles - 23 hrs ago Police investigate bird of prey deaths at Skibo estate - 27 hrs ago

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