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Archived News - Chilterns

Police Appeal after Red Kites Illegally Poisoned in the Chilterns

This article was published in May 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Red KiteHertfordshire and Bedfordshire Police are appealing for information following the illegal poisoning of two rare red kites less than a mile apart in the Chilterns. The RSPB is offering a reward of £1000 for information leading to a conviction.

In January 2012, Hertfordshire Police assisted by officers from the RSPB recovered a dead red kite just south of the village of Hexton. The bird had been found by a member of the public out with her young family close to a public footpath.

In March, following a second report from the public, officers from the RSPB recovered a second dead red kite hanging in a bush less than a mile away on the Pegsdon Hills Nature Reserve which is run by the Bedfordshire Wildlife Trust.

Subsequent toxicological tests confirmed both birds had been poisoned with a highly toxic banned pesticide.  It is suspected both birds had been feeding on carrion placed in the countryside and illegally laced with the chemical.


On May 2, 2012, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Police, in conjunction with officers from Natural England, the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU), Trading Standards and the RSPB, undertook a search in the area including a number of outbuildings. A number of samples were taken and will be submitted for further toxicological tests.

Sergeant Jamie Bartlett from Hertfordshire Constabulary's Rural Operational Support Team said: We are appealing to anybody who may have more information about the deaths of these birds. The use of poison in these circumstances is highly irresponsible and indiscriminate. The pesticide used is highly toxic and the potential for injury to members of the public or their pets could have been high.

"We take matters such as this very seriously and urge people to come forward with any information that could assist us to progress this matter. Working with various partner agencies in this case is proving to be very useful."

Guy Shorrock, Investigations Officer with the RSPB added: "The reintroduction of red kites has been a fantastic success story and the expansion of the population into Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire has allowed more people to see these amazing birds.  Unfortunately, every year we get tragic incidents like this.  Illegally placing poison in the countryside puts wildlife, domestic animals and potentially members of the public at risk.  We would urge anyone with information about this or other wildlife crime to contact the police".


Anyone with any information is asked to contact Sergeant Jamie Bartlett on the non-emergency number 101.  Alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. You do not have to give your name and you could be entitled to a cash reward.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire

Special Trees and Woods Project

This article was published in October 2007. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

The Special Trees and Woods Project hopes to record and celebrate special trees throughout the Chilterns. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the success of the project is down to volunteers such as Steve Girling from Lords Mead, Eaton Bray.

Liz Manley, volunteer coordinator said "It is great to be able to welcome Steve as a new member of the volunteer team. There are many volunteer opportunities available with this project including researching special trees and woods and recording people's memories of the local woodland."

The Special Trees and Woods Project hopes to record many oral history interviews over the next two years. Steve has received full training and hopes to interview those with memories of the trees and woods of the Chilterns.

Steve said "I am looking forward to recording some real-life stories from people that can remember the orchards that used to be such a feature of our local area - farmers, plum pickers and other casual workers and even those that worked in the hat factories that used the dye from the plums."

You might think that your experiences are not important enough to be part of this project - but you are probably wrong! The Special Trees and Woods project is all about recording local stories about local trees and woods.

So, if you used to work in association with the orchards or can remember your father or mother doing so, or would like to know more about oral histories, contact Steve on 07946 652 949.

For more information about the project, forthcoming events and the varied volunteering opportunities available go to

Source: Focus, October 2007