POLICE Scotland is appealing for information following the discovery of a dead red kite in Castle Douglas.

A member of the public found the bird in the Durham Hill Lane area, Kirkpatrick Durham, on Saturday, January 20.

A subsequent examination of the bird indicated it had been poisoned and enquiries are currently underway in relation to the circumstances surrounding its death.

Specialist wildlife crime officer Constable Alan Steel said: “Due to the inherent scavenging nature of red kites, they are particularly vulnerable to the illegal use of poisonous bait. Red kites are legally protected and Police Scotland works closely with partner agencies, including the Scottish Agricultural College, Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.”

RSPB Scotland's head of investigations, Ian Thomson, said: "Numbers of detected cases of illegal poisoning of our birds of prey have, thankfully, been very low in recent years, so this case is of serious concern. The Galloway Red Kite trail, just a few miles from where this bird was killed, is a popular tourist attraction and of great benefit to the local economy.

"The indiscriminate use of illegal poisons doesn't just affect wildlife but is a significant risk to pets and people as well, and we join with the police in asking that anyone who can provide information about this incident comes forward."

Anyone who may have any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, should call 101, quoting reference number PDG 0014800118.