Anger as protected bird’s nest destroyed

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Campaigners have expressed outrage over the “wanton destruction” of the nest of one of Britain’s most persecuted and rare birds of prey.

The RSPB is offering a reward of £1,000 for information leading to the conviction of perpetrators who destroyed the goshawk’s nest in the heart of the Peak District.

The crime is the latest in a long-running series of attacks on birds of prey in the area.

It leaves only one active goshawk nest in the entire Derwent Valley, which previously has held six pairs of the birds.

Mark Thomas, investigations officer with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said: “Once again we’re faced with the destruction of birds of prey in Britain’s most-visited national park.

“The sight of goshawk eggs smashed, only days from hatching, lying on the forest floor is a heart-breaking sight and proves that this bird is being systematically wiped out in the north of the Peak District.”

The Derwent Valley has had a catalogue of bird of prey persecution. In the most recent case, a gamekeeper was convicted of using a caged pigeon to lure birds of prey to a trap.

Derbyshire Police have launched an investigation of the latest incident, which took place on land managed by Severn Trent Water.

Hazel Earnshaw, from the company, said: “We are sickened that this protected species has once again been subject to persecution, despite extensive efforts to protect it. The goshawk should form a natural part of the ecosystem here in the Upper Derwent Valley. We are working closely with the RSPB to protect these birds and to identify the guilty parties.”

Sgt Darren Belfield, of Derbyshire Police, said: “This is a further instance of senseless destruction and persecution of a protected species. The individuals responsible show no regard for the law or for the conservation of bird of prey species within the Peak District National Park.”

Anyone with information can call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.