Police are appealing for information after tests revealed a red kite discovered dead near Fakenham had suspected insecticide poisoning.
Officers from Norfolk Police’s Op Randall team have been investigating the death of the protected bird of prey, which was found dead by a member of the public in a field in North Creake in August 2023, and had suffered no obvious physical injuries.
Further tests were ordered to establish the cause of death and a post-mortem examination carried out through the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) at the end of November has subsequently detected a number of pesticides and insecticides, including very high levels of Bendiocarb which has been concluded as the likely cause of death.
Searches carried out out by police alongside National Wildlife Crime Unit officers and the RSPB investigation team to find the source of the substance have so far proved unsuccesful and now officers are keen to speak to anyone with information that may help their investigation or who has witnessed anything similar in the area.
Wildlife officer PC Chris Shelley said: “We’ve been waiting for the results of the toxicological analysis, and now know the levels of Bendiocarb contained within the samples taken from the bird have not come from the approved use of such a product.
“I have to conclude that this product has been used illegally in very close proximity to where the bird was recovered.
“Bendiocarb has been the active ingredient in a number of insecticide products in the past approved to deal with wasps and ants. In more recent years the number of products including this ingredient has reduced and its approved use has been to tackle such species inside buildings. Products containing this ingredient can only be purchased and used by professional pesticide users, and only then can they use the product inside a building to reduce the risk to non-target species.
“Red Kites are listed under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act. We have a zero tolerance approach to the persecution of birds of prey and I’d appeal to anybody who knows anything that may help get to the bottom of what happened here or indeed has any information about anything similar happening, please get in touch with us.”
Anyone with any information is asked to get in touch via the following channels, quoting reference 38/82207/23:
Crimestoppers: Contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or via their online form: www.crimestoppers-uk.org