Shooting birds in gardens using air rifles

Having found several bodies over the last week (shot birds e.g. collared doves), I finally heard the shots this afternoon (Sunday, 24th July), and watcheed, to my horror, as a dove was shot in the tree in the garden next to me.  I was horrified and shouted out. i have reported this to the police and knocked on neighbours doors - all deny knowledge.  I have pets of my own and can't bear to think of this evil people committing this wanton destruction, and possibly aiming also at my pets... what else can I do????

  • Hi Jeannie-41

    Welcome to the RSPB forum.

    What a very sad first post you have to report to us :-(

    It is against the law and I would report it to the RSPB as well as the police, but you really need to know which neighbour is doing this first.

    Best wishes Chris

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  • The police will deal with the matter  .

    It is an offence to use any air wepon in a public place .  it is also an offence to use an air rifle with out the proper use of a backstop .  It is also an offence to shoot with the intent to kill any bird without a proper licence .

    I hope they throw the book at them.



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  • In reply to Woodpecker:

    Hi Jennie-41

    Welcome from me too.  This is absolutely awful, what did the police say? are they going to come round.  Can you get any evidence of where the shooting is coming from?

    I'm so sorry for you, how distressing.  Please let us know how you get on.




  • In reply to Kezmo:

    Hi Jennie-41, Hello from me also.  So sorry this has happened. You must leave it to the police, now that you have reported the incident. There must be others who have seen/ heard what has been happening. Take care.

  • Hi all, thank you for your kind responses.  Sorry I sound so wussy, but I have been really angered by this event.  I have reported the incident to everyone I can think of, RSPB, RSPCA, Council, Wildlife Crime Officer.  i also volunteer at a Wildlife Rescue and will take it up through there.  Evidence is so damn hard (though i am pretty certain of the culprits).  It may be enough if the police do some enquiries, to 'scare off' the perpetrators.  I have loads of bird feeders etc in my garden and to think of these fools shooting willy nilly infuriates me. I won't let it drop.  Jeannie

  • In reply to Jeannie41:

    That is awful. The RSPCA have just used a similar thing in a campaign for funds. A cat was found near death with 8 airgun pellets in it. They managed to save the poor thing but what creep would find enjoyment in doing such a thing.

    Well done for reporting it to everyone.


    Kind regards Jane.

  • Jeannie

    Based on  experience I would approach the situation mindful of your own safety

    (i) I would ensure a police officer is nominated to investigate by raising a Police Log   these must be follwed up. Ensure you obtain a log Number . Polce help desks sometimes  do not log a reported crime as assumed

    (ii) make clear you emphasise the duty of care for the concern to be followed up - these high powered cannister guns can send pellets through fllimsy fencing or shrubbery and be blown of course by wind causing potential harm and risk to others

    (iii) begin an evidence log if you have a zoom camera or video have it to hand . If you are hearing pellets and seeing kills close to you work out from the general ditection and radius of 100 m where this could be coming from and focus you observations

    (iv) inform your near neighbours as they will not be impressed as Cats / pigeons are often the victims of smart Alecs - More eyes the better.

    (v) Finally if you are satisfied that you are not at risk from any harassment ccirculate a neighbourhood leaflet or poster in the vicinity where the culprrits are likely to see it and therefore desist indicating clearly the Police Involvement

    Individuals often move with these firearms in a case on their back so be observant for individuals with such attire . If these was a shot in a tree it implies someone has a clear line of sight possibly from a bedroom window ??????  RSPCA and RSPB might be able to add more advice to this or if Police Inteligence indicates that there is a problem with such individuals a prosecution may be executed,

    These offenses could potentially be very serious as already pointed out . Inexperienced Police Officers often struggle with airguns being fired from Private Property however the key part of the act is that it is unlawful toIt is an offence to fire any weapon within 50 feet of the centre of any roadway, if by doing so you cause a nuisance. This offence could be committed by someone on private property close to a road who used a gun in a way which upset people on the road.discharge a firearm within 20m of the Highway  most private homes do not have the curtilage to allow this

    Whilst I am not advocating the inapropriate use of police resources Armed Response Teams are obliged to investigate the reporting of shots fired in an expedient manner . Should your safety at any time be compromised at any time by a firearm do not hesitate to place your safety first by ensuring the Police are informed urgently

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  • Anonymous

    In reply to Jeannie41:

    hi Jeannie41 and welcome to the RSPB Forum.  Enjoy yourself here

    Your story does rings a bell as I have answered this type of story before on another one of my 'Bird' Forums.

    It is a disgrace how people seem to think that it is alright to pop at anything that moves with feathers.

    As you say it is finding hard evidence of the culprit doing what he is doing without you getting into any trouble yourself.

    One small suggestion I have got is that you could buy a small CCTV camera and place it facing the direction of the garden where you believe the air rifle is being used and see if you can record some pictures.  It is being secretive about it and it will stop any confrontation with your neighbours occurring in your life

    I would not like to be involved with people like this, and any type of issue would make me cringe to even think what they are really like - not nice comes to mind.

    Air guns are lethal/illegal in the wrong hands that is the problem with them and if these people are shooting in a enclosed area - it is downright dangerous for humans too.

    Please let us know if any of the bodies you have rang up will help - maybe a couple more calls will do the trick


    Kathy and Dave

  • Hi Jeannie41,

    I'm sorry your first posts are such sad and distressing ones.  But welcome anyway.

    I had a similar problem a few months back, although not as severe as your own.  I completely understand how you are feeling!

    I think everyone has answered with some sound advice for you, so take it on board and please, look after your own safety too!

    Have you gone over your own garden with a fine toothcomb for any pellets etc?  Keep them safe if you find any.  Oh and as horrible as it sounds, if you find any dead birds, keep them, they are evidence.

    These sort of people make me sick, I hope the horrid excuse of a creature is caught and brought to justice!

    Keep us informed :o)

  • In reply to Jeannie41:

    Hi Jeannie

    I think that it would be safe to safe to say that all  RSPB Community members reading your post will be as angered as you about what you encountered.  I wish you every success with geting the authorities to act decisively on this criminal activity.


    Every day a little more irate about bird of prey persecution, and I have a cat - Got a problem with that?