Sarah Knapton, science editor
1 NOVEMBER 2017 • 12:01AM
Police failed to prosecute a single person for killing endangered birds of prey last year, the RSPB has found, despite scores of deaths.
The bird conservation charity estimates that at least 81 raptors were illegally killed in 2016, but for the first time in 30 years no one was brought before the courts.
In its annual report, Birdcrime 2016, the RSPB discovered that 40 birds of prey had been shot, 22 poisoned and 25 trapped, as well as four other deaths.
However, the charity has warned that the figures are just the tip of the iceberg with many illegal killings going undetected or unreported.
Martin Harper, RSPB Conservation Director, said: “Birds of prey bring our skies to life. There is nothing like seeing a diving peregrine or a skydancing hen harrier.
“The sights of these spectacular birds are something we should all be able to enjoy, unfortunately illegal activity is stopping this and preventing the birds from flourishing. There are laws in place to protect these birds but they are clearly not being put into action.