Anger after Peregrine chicks taken from nest in remote part of Derbyshire
A nest with three young peregrines has been raided by criminals in a remote part of the Peak District National Park.
Police are investigating the crime, which has shocked conservation teams as they try to step up their protection of the iconic bird of prey.
Peregrines, along with their eggs and nests, are legally protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.
It is a criminal offence to intentionally or recklessly kill, injure or take a peregrine.
Tim Birch, of Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, said: “It is very sad that a peregrine nest with three young peregrines have been robbed.
"We all lose when this happens.
"Thousands of people visit the Peak District National Park every year to walk in stunning scenery and have the opportunity to watch these magnificent birds in the wild.
"Robbing this nest deprives people from being able to have the chance to see such a wonderful bird.
"We need to see tougher sentences that reflect the seriousness of this crime and to act as a deterrent.”
The nest was located in the Upper Derwent Valley, on land owned by the Forestry Commission.
Shona Morton, planning and environment manager for the Forestry Commission, said: “We are very upset to learn that this Peregrine pair have been robbed of their young on our land.
"We work closely with local volunteer groups and conservationists to locate new nests each year and monitor breeding success – crimes like this undermine everything we’re trying to achieve together.
"Sadly, the Peak District remains a hot spot for raptor persecution and we would encourage anyone who sees suspicious activity on the public forest estate to alert us and contact the police.”
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust said the loss of these young birds is a ‘huge blow’ to the work that is currently being undertaken to try and protect peregrines and ensure that they are allowed to prosper in the Peak District.
In 2020, an adult male peregrine was found dead from poisoning very close to the site that was recently raided.
Two years ago young peregrines also disappeared from this site.
Other nests are currently being monitored across the Peak District to assess how peregrines have fared this breeding season.