Bird of prey mystery death leads to police appeal

pic JUSTIN SPITTLE news'Pic of  the Common Buzzard that has been freed . The buzzard was  at the Middlebank Wildlife Centre .
pic JUSTIN SPITTLE news'Pic of the Common Buzzard that has been freed . The buzzard was at the Middlebank Wildlife Centre .
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Police are appealing for information after a buzzard was found dead near Heriot in suspicious circumstances, writes Kenny Paterson.

It is the second of the species to be killed in the last four months in the Borders, and the third bird of prey executed in the Heriot area in the last four years.

The latest death discovery was made on Sunday, June 30 by a member of public next to a forestry plantation at Carcant Hill.

The bird was in a badly decomposed state but forensic analysis has shown it had been shot with a shotgun pellet.

While tests have been unable to confirm if this injury resulted in the buzzard’s death, police are keen to hear from anyone who can assist with their enquiries.

PC Hannah Medley, Wildlife Crime Liaison Officer for Police Scotland, said: “This buzzard has been deliberately shot at some point, which is a crime.

“What we cannot establish at this time is where the bird was shot, or whether the injury caused its death and so anyone with information relevant to this investigation is asked to contact police immediately.”

Anyone with any information should contact Police Scotland on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Back in March, a dead buzzard was found next to a forestry plantation at St Mary’s Loch in the Yarrow Valley.

It was discovered by a dog walker close to the loch’s weir at Bowerhope on March 6.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman at the time said the bird had experienced a “cruel, slow and painful death”.

Although figures are not yet available for 2012, during the whole of 2011 only three birds of prey were killed in the Borders.

The latest find will be a concern to police after the new single force set up an enlarged wildlife unit.

Assistant chief constable Malcolm Graham – who hails from Chirnside – is responsible for the team, and told The Southern back in March: “Wildlife crime is different across the country, from people stealing freshwater pearls to poaching and raptor kills.

“There are people who have different ideas, but generally we find members of the public very willing to help with our ­inquiries.”

A buzzard was killed in January 2011 in the Heriot area while police and RSPB officers swooped on the Raeshaw estate in June 2009 after a Red Kite was poisoned.