Birds of prey found shot dead near Sproatley in 'wholly barbaric' act (video)
A REWARD is being offered to catch whoever is responsible for shooting two birds of prey.
A male and female buzzard were found dead in a ditch on the outskirts of Sproatley earlier this week.
Further tests have revealed the pair had been shot in the wings and body. The RSPB has described it as "wholly barbaric".
Howard Jones revealed the organisation is offering a £1,000 reward for information.
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He said: "The common buzzard has made a fantastic population recovery in large parts of the UK, yet still suffers from illegal persecution.
"The acts of illegal persecution either go undetected or when detected, still go unpunished due to a lack of evidence.
"Hence the RSPB is offering a reward of £1,000 to anyone who can provide information that could lead to a conviction for whoever is responsible for these barbaric shootings."
The grim discovery was made on the edge of the Burton Constable estate by members of the public on Tuesday.
Veterinary X-rays revealed shot- gun pellets were found in both birds.
Mr Jones said: "We don't know how it happened and neither do the Burton Constable estate, who don't know how birds have ended up on their land.
"They have been very co-operative with police in trying to determine who might be responsible.
"It is wholly barbaric. It looks as though they were possibly shot from close range in a cold, calculating way.
"Although we don't know the circumstances, it is quite possible whoever has done this has done this before and could continue to do this.
"We need anyone with information to contact the police immediately."
Buzzards are the common and most widespread UK bird of prey.
Although their greatest numbers are in Scotland, Wales, the Lake District and south west England, they are now breeding in every county of the UK.
They are quite large with broad, rounded wings and a short neck and tail.
When gliding and soaring it will often hold its wing in a shall- ow "V" and the tail is fanned.
The birds of prey eat small mammals, birds and carrion. They can also eat earthworms and large insects when other prey is in short supply.
Jonathan Leadley, of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: "To receive the news that a pair of buzzards have been killed so callously, just before the breeding season, is devastating news.
"The tide of persecution that had swept most of our birds of prey away has now mostly subsided and it is great to see these majestic birds making a comeback.
"Sadly, some people do not share these views and selfishly break the law, letting down the majority of people who have welcomed these birds back to Yorkshire.
"Their illegal actions deprive people of the chance to witness these spectacular birds.
"We would urge all our members and other people to report any suspicious behaviour or incidents involving birds of prey or other wildlife to the police straight away."
If someone is found guilty of the shooting, they will be prosecuted under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and could receive a maximum penalty of six months in prison or be fined up to £5,000.
Sergeant Dave Jenkins, of Humberside Police, said: "Fortunately, we don't get many incidents like this. The last one was several years ago.
"The buzzards were found dumped in a ditch on Tuesday, although they could have been there for a few weeks.
"The X-rays revealed the buzzards were riddled with bullets."
Anyone with information should to call police on 101.