THE Northern England Raptor Forum (NERF) is hosting a Raptor Persecution Awareness Day at the Devonshire Institute in Grassington, this weekend.

The event is free and open to the public. The purpose is to inform society of how widespread the killing of birds of prey in the North of England remains in the 21st century.

Steve Downing, Chairman of NERF said: "The illegal persecution of birds of prey in the uplands of northern England continues to seriously threaten local populations. For many years North Yorkshire has had the unenviable distinction of being the worst area for recorded crime against raptors in England, particularly on land associated with driven grouse shooting. We are delighted that so many people and organisations have come together today to support the event which has demonstrated clear evidence of raptor persecution and identified the steps needed to redress the problems."

The event will feature presentations by representatives from the National Wildlife Crime Unit, North Yorkshire Police, Yorkshire Dales National Park, the Peak District National Park, the RSPB Bowland Project Officer and the RSPB Investigations Department. Speakers will highlight the current evidence of persecution and draw attention to initiatives that are already in place, and those that are still required, to combat this insidious, persistent problem.takes place between 10 am and 2pm on Saturday, August 11.

The Northern England Raptor Forum represents volunteer raptor study groups committed to the long-term monitoring of the populations of key raptor species across the region. Study areas cover the Pennine Chain from Northumberland to the South Peak District and extends to Cheshire, Manchester, the Forest of Bowland and the North York Moors.