A bird of prey that was found dead in a Norfolk field was poisoned, according to a post-mortem examination. 

The Red Kite was found by a member of the public in a field in North Creake, near Fakenham, in August.

They noticed it had suffered no obvious physical injuries so reported it to Norfolk Constabulary.

The Operation Randall team launched an investigation and a post-mortem examination in November detected a number of pesticides and insecticides in the bird's system. 

The chemicals included very high levels of Bendiocarb which has been concluded as the likely cause of death.

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The National Wildlife Crime Unit and the RSPB investigation team have been trying to find the source of the substance but have been unsuccessful so far.

Wildlife officer PC Chris Shelley said: “We’ve been waiting for the results of the toxicological analysis and now know the levels of Bendiocarb contained within the samples taken from the bird have not come from the approved use of such a product.

“I have to conclude that this product has been used illegally in very close proximity to where the bird was recovered.

“Bendiocarb has been the active ingredient in a number of insecticide products in the past approved to deal with wasps and ants.

"In more recent years the number of products including this ingredient has reduced and its approved use has been to tackle such species inside buildings.

"Products containing this ingredient can only be purchased and used by professional pesticide users, and only then can they use the product inside a building to reduce the risk to non-target species.

"We have a zero-tolerance approach to the persecution of birds of prey and I’d appeal to anybody who knows anything that may help get to the bottom of what happened here or indeed has any information about anything similar happening, please get in touch with us.”

Red Kites are listed under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

Anyone with any information is asked to get in touch by calling 101 or emailing OperationRandall@norfolk.police.uk quoting reference 38/82207/23.