The countryside is somewhere everyone should be able to enjoy. Getting outdoors is good for our health and wellbeing, and connects us with nature – a connection we need to hang on to more than ever these days. National Parks should offer the perfect places to do just this.

But in some areas, as you may know, our countryside is being undermined by criminal activity. Some wildlife is seen as a threat to commercial interests, laws are broken, and culprits escape justice and continue their practices. Policing the hills is vital in ending this and keeping our countryside safe for people and for wildlife.

The RSPB’s Investigations team was called out to an incident in the Peak District National Park in March last year (2018), when a walker reported a dead bird lying in the heather near a wooden post, on a grouse moor near Langsett. Apart from the fact it was on its back and clearly dead, it looked otherwise fit and healthy, with no obvious injuries. It was clearly freshly dead. Bob Berzins is a keen walker, climber and fell runner, and has done some great work monitoring and highlighting habitat damage in the Peak District. He suspected there wasn’t something quite right about this situation.