A man has been convicted of killing raptors and other wild birds in the Stewarty area of Dumfries and Galloway between 2019 and 2020.

Barry Nicolle, 67, admitted numerous charges at Dumfries Sheriff Court on Wednesday. He is due to be sentenced next month.

The charges related to the reckless use of illegal poison resulting in the deaths of 15 birds, including five red kites.

The birds were recovered within a mile radius of Nicolle’s address, some just a few hundred yards from his property.

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Wildlife Officer, Police Constable John Cowan, said: “Extensive policing work involving a number of partners, along with forensic science, enabled us to build a case against Nicolle who had been killing protected birds over a number of years.

“Not only was there a risk to the rural environment, but also to members of the public handling poisoned birds some of which were found near a primary school.

“Police Scotland and the partners we work with treat all types of wildlife crime very seriously and this conviction is a strong message that those who poison wild and protected birds will be robustly investigated.

“I would also like to thank the public who provided information that assisted our enquiries. This is vital to our work in combatting wildlife crime.

“I would encourage anyone who comes across a protected dead bird or animal to report it to us. Likewise if you have information about wildlife crime please get in touch via 101.”