POLICE have issued a warning to dog owners after a red kite discovered dead near Pateley Bridge earlier this year was now known to have been poisoned.

The bird of prey was found by a member of the public close to a caravan site on March 1.

After examination to rule out obvious causes of death, North Yorkshire Police submitted the bird to the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) for analysis.

Laboratory analysis identified the presence of two pesticides and concluded that this was most likely the cause of the bird’s death, particularly given it was fit and healthy and had died soon after eating a large meal.

Two pesticides - Bendiocarb and Isofenphos - were present in the bird’s gizzard, part of the stomach, along with the remains of what it had eaten.

Bendiocarb is licensed for use as a pesticide in England, but Isofenphos is banned in the UK. Both pesticides are highly toxic and their use has previously been identified as the likely cause of death of other red kites in North Yorkshire.

Despite extensive investigations, police have not been able to find evidence to understand how the pesticides reached the red kite or to identify those responsible for misusing these toxic substances.

And, although the investigation has now concluded, officers are asking anyone with information is asked to contact them.

In the course of normal use, pesticides like Bendiocarb should never be released into the environment where wildlife, such as birds of prey, can be exposed to them.

Police are aware that poisons and pesticides like Bendiocarb or Isofenphos can be laid on bait, for example a carcass of a rabbit or bird and are urging dog walkers to be vigilant and to not let their pets eat or investigate any animal carcasses they might come across.

A police spokesman said: " If you find any evidence of bait like this or a poisoned animal, then do not touch it. Many chemicals are extremely toxic and can be absorbed through skin.

"Take multiple photos of the scene and note down as many details as you can, as well as why you think the carcass is poisoned. If possible, note down a grid reference or what3words location if you have the app on your phone and report it to the police by calling 101 so that we can investigate."

The spokesman added: "Red kites have been successfully re-introduced to Yorkshire, having been extinct as a breeding bird in England, and they are now a familiar sight to people in Nidderdale.

"All birds are protected by law and it is a crime to intentionally kill, injure, or take any wild bird."

If anybody has information about persecution of birds of prey please call North Yorkshire Police on 101. Anyone with any information about the poisoned red kite, is asked to ring 101, quoting reference 12190038006.