THE ‘brutal and clear-cut’ killing of hen harrier chicks in a nest near Whernside will have shocked and horrified all right thinking people.

Despite being monitored by Natural England as part of its routine monitoring of hen harriers, a protected and very rare bird of prey, someone or some people it seems found the nest, blinded the camera and stamped on the chicks.

The extent of their injuries, so many broken bones suggests no less. The parent bird was filmed the next day trying to feed the remains of the chicks before then giving up, and removing them from the nest.

So, what sort of people would do such a heinous thing? This is not the action of someone who stumbled upon the nest by accident, who did it as an act of mischief.

This was premeditated, whoever did it went prepared. They knew the nest was being watched and they disabled the camera with a blast of light before they set about stamping on the chicks.

Police and wildlife organisations have condemned the actions of these criminals and have appealed to landowners and managers to help police identify and prosecute those responsible.

There is no doubt about it, people will know who did this, they have probably bragged about it, inadequate, sad individuals that they are.

If you know who did it, tell the police, we want to enjoy these spectacular birds, not live somewhere where they are persecuted.