A peregrine falcon was found dead in a 'barbaric' illegal trap in woodland near Edinburgh. 

Police are investigating after the body of the protected bird of prey was discovered 100 yards from a public footpath near Wester Bavelaw, Balerno, on Thursday (November 28). 

Wildlife crime officer DC Daniel Crilley, said: “This protected bird was found in a baited pole trap that is illegal.

“Peregrine falcons are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and forensic tests are being done as part of our ongoing enquiries to establish the full circumstances.

“We are asking anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area or who has information that could help our investigation to get in touch."

Read more: Fears grow for golden eagle missing in Scottish Borders

Pole traps work by crushing the bird's legs when it lands on a trigger plate, leading to a slow death. They have been illegal in the UK for more than 100 years. 

The RSPB previously said on Pole Traps: "There is a reason why these traps have been illegal for so long, they are barbaric and they are designed to kill protected birds of prey."

Those who can help are asked to call 101, quoting incident number 1376 of Friday, 24 November, or make a call anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

It comes after a golden eagle disappeared in the Scottish Borders, with police treating the incident as suspicious.

The satellite-tagged bird went missing in the Fountainhall area on October 18 and has not been seen since. 

Read more: Chris Packham: I love Scotland, but we're damaging it

Police Scotland's wildlife crime coordinator DS David Lynn said they are "determined to protect these magnificent birds". 

He said: "Officers believe the bird has come to harm and are treating its disappearance as suspicious."

Anyone with any information that could help is asked to contact 101 with reference number 1193 of October 18. 

In Scotland, all raptors are protected by law and intentionally killing or injuring one is an offence which could lead to prison sentence or fine - even if the species isn't rare. 

That includes shooting, trapping, poisoning, or interfering with the birds' nests. 

More information on wildlife crime can be found on the Police Scotland website