Four birds and a fox were poisoned in Wiltshire last year, a leading bird charity’s wildlife crime report has revealed.

The RSPB said three ravens, a red kite and a fox died in January 2019 as a result of ingesting insecticide Bendiocarb. The birds and animal are understood to have been found near Salisbury.

There were 85 confirmed incidents of bird of prey persecution last year, involving birds such as buzzards, red kites, peregrine falcons, golden eagles and hen harriers, the report found. Birds were shot, poisoned or trapped.

The highest concentrations of crimes were in the north of England and Scotland, with North Yorkshire the worst spot, and half the confirmed incidents occurred within protected landscapes, the conservation charity said.

The RSPB said its data, peer-reviewed science and population surveys showed persecution was concentrated on and near grouse moors, and called for tougher action on the industry to end the killing of protected species.

Amanda Anderson, director of the Moorland Association, which represents moor owners and managers in England, said bird crime figures were down compared to those issued by the RSPB last year. She condemned all forms of wildlife crime, saying the association was committed to restoring bird of prey populations.

Last week, police raided properties in Beckhampton and Pewsey, arresting a 19-year-old man on suspicion of raptor persecution. Officers found the carcasses of birds of prey including buzzards and red kites.