THE killing of birds of prey is something that doesn’t belong in this century, or this county.

The crime is also placing other people in danger and tainting the fantastic reputation of our beautiful national parks.

North Yorkshire Police has revealed two red kites found in Nidderdale last year contained a truly horrific cocktail of deadly poisons in their bodies.

Thank goodness a child or dog didn’t come across the carcass.

Police are also investigating the disappearance of a hen harrier from Swaledale, whose satellite tag - fitted by the government agency Natural England – stopped transmitting in December.

It was the fifth hen harrier lost in four months across the North and rightly prompted an outcry from Natural England and David Butterworth, the chief executive of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, who said these incidents were damaging the dales’ reputation.

It was also a crying shame for the wildlife programme which invested such time and care into monitoring and protecting the endangered species.

The birds we know have been killed are believed to be just the tip of the iceberg; the crime by its very nature is confined to some of the most wild and remote locations in the UK, which makes finding evidence difficult and prosecutions few and far between.

The situation can’t continue; as quick as resources are thrown at increasing bird of prey numbers, traps and poisons bring them down.

The government has brought in measures to tackle the killing of endangered species such as elephants with its ivory ban.

Perhaps we need the same kind of international scrutiny looking at the bird of prey persecution on our doorstep.