A BUZZARD that was found dead on top of a dry-stone wall was poisoned, tests have confirmed.

The bird, a protected species, was found by a member of the public on top of a wall in a remote part of the North York Moors near Percy Rigg.

It was sent for toxicology tests under the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme which revealed that it died of suspected chloralose poisoning.

Police are now appealing for anyone with information about the incident to contact them.

Sergeant Stuart Grainger, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, said: “North Yorkshire is known for its wonderful countryside, which is home to many species of birds, including protected birds of prey.

“Sadly, as a county, we have more confirmed incidents of raptor persecution than any other county in England – a situation North Yorkshire Police is absolutely determined to tackle.

“It is saddening that this magnificent bird has been poisoned.

“I would urge anyone with any information about this incident to contact us on 101, or you can speak with someone in confidence by ringing the RPSB hotline number.”

Jenny Shelton, of the RSPB, described the poisoning as ‘a despicable and deliberate act’, adding: “Raptor persecution is a serious, ongoing issue which is affecting some of our most incredible birds of prey.”