IT will be a source of great shame for all right thinking people that for the seventh year running North Yorkshire is the worst place in the UK for the illegal killing of birds of prey.

That’s seven years running, seven years when despite everything, despite the police warnings and the high profile campaigns, these wonderful birds continue to be shot and poisoned, and at a greater number than anywhere else in the country.

Whoever is responsible for this dreadful crime is getting away with it - and has been getting away with it for years.

There must be people who know who they are, and still they let them carry on, both shooting and poisoning and depriving the rest of us from the pleasure of seeing buzzards, peregrines, hen harriers, red kites and all the rest.

And for what reason? Is it just ignorance, is it some misguided attempt by ‘rogue’ individuals to protect game, or just an indefensible desire to kill something beautiful.

These individuals should be weeded out and exposed. They ought to be brought to the courts and faced with the highest possible sentences; if they have dogs, they ought to be confiscated, along with any transport they used in their crime.

It is utterly, utterly wrong in 2021 that this should be going on - and we all need to do what we can to put it to an end.