Page last updated at 05:50 GMT, Wednesday, 26 August 2009 06:50 UK

RSPB's concern over bird attacks

A Peregrine feeding chicks (generic)
Cases of crime against birds are down by four on 2007

Crimes against wild birds, such as shootings and poisonings, has fallen slightly in Wales but the figure is still too high, says the RSPB.

The charity said there were 124 cases last year, a reduction of four on 2007, but many more incidents are believed to be undetected and unreported.

Crimes included shooting, poisoning, trapping and the theft of birds and their eggs.

Denbighshire was the county with the worst record - 24 reported incidents.

Gwynedd followed with 18 incidents, while there were eight in Anglesey.

The RSPB's investigations unit said of the 124 reported cases in Wales 35 were against birds of prey, with buzzards being the most common victims.

Wildlife crime

It added that Welsh incidents accounted for around 11% of the UK total, and it was using its Birdcrime 2008 report to repeat its call for a review of the way these crimes are policed.

In Wales, police forces benefit from the support of two dedicated wildlife crime officers seconded to the Countryside Council for Wales.

The charity's head of investigations Ian West said: "The RSPB welcomes the two centres of excellence in Wales. However, we believe a review is still needed in order to measure the overall standard of the service in Wales."

Director of RSPB Cymru Dr Tim Stowe said it would do all it could to continue to support Wales' dedicated wildlife crime officers.

He added: "However, the public's help is also vital in helping us put a stop to these crimes and hold those responsible to account."

Sgt Rob Taylor, a wildlife and environmental crime officer, said: "There have been a number of high profile cases in north Wales in the past months and a number of investigations are still ongoing."

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