More than a dozen shotguns and a dead bird of prey have been seized following an investigation into the illegal killing of raptors in the Ceiriog Valley.

The operation that took place this week was carried out by North Wales Police's Rural Crime Team, in partnership with the RSPB Investigations Team, the National Wildlife Crime Unit and the Welsh Government, targeting those suspected of unlawfully poisoning birds of prey.

It came following an investigation launched in July into the poisoning of a red kite, found dead in the Ceiriog Valley on February 27.

READ MORE: Persecution against birds of prey in Wales on the rise

Toxicology tests carried out on the bird by the Welsh Government earlier this year revealed it tested positive for Bendiocarb – a highly toxic pesticide.

Officers believe the incident was a deliberate act.

Following this week's searches, which included the recovery of 15 shotguns, the dead bird of prey was sent off for toxicology tests, while dangerous chemicals also discovered at one property are being dealt with.

The National Wales: Photo: North Wales Police's rural crime teamPhoto: North Wales Police's rural crime team

Sergeant Dewi Evans of the Rural Crime Team said: “It’s time to stamp out persecution against our birds of prey.

“We are glad to have worked with Welsh Government, National Wildlife Crime Unit and RSPB Investigations on our operation targeting those suspected of criminally harming our wildlife.

“We look forward to working with our partners again in future.”

READ MORE: All-Wales wildlife and rural crime co-ordinator appointed

RSPB Investigations officer Niall Owen said: “This was a well organised multi-agency operation and a positive step in the right direction for investigating raptor persecution in Wales.

“We, as a team, are committed to working alongside the police to safeguard the future for birds of prey and uncover these barbaric crimes against our birds.

“Laying poison baits in the countryside to target birds of prey is not only illegal but represents a huge danger to any person or animal unlucky enough to come across it.

“We would like the thank North Wales Police for their commitments to follow up these incidents.”

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