A WILDLIFE conservationist has condemned the dumping of hundreds of dead pheasants.

Jean Thorpe, from Norton, who rescues and rehabilitates injured wildlife, said it was "horrendous" that the birds had been left as waste.

A rambler found four sacks of dead gamebirds in Hawnby Road, near Helmsley, in November and returned last week to find several hundred more dead pheasants in piles.

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Mrs Thorpe said: “It is horrendous, rearing non-native species to shoot/kill and then dumping the bodies as waste,” she said.

“North Yorkshire has the terrible reputation of bird of prey persecution mainly down to the shooting fraternity who are afraid their precious pheasants are eaten by our native species.”

Liam Stokes, head of shooting at the Countryside Alliance, said: “It is worth pointing out that these birds all seem to have been breasted - the breast meat has been removed.

"Of course the rest of the carcass should have been disposed of appropriately, but it does appear that the meat from these birds has in fact entered the food-chain.”