ADRIAN BLACKMORE, of The Countryside Alliance, praises a reduction in the cases of the illegal persecution of birds reported by the RSPB in 2012 (HAS, Dec 17).

What does this represent, a genuine reduction in persecution or merely the more successful hiding of persecution by the culprits?

What he fails to mention is the fact that no hen harriers, a bird of upland moorlands, bred successfully this year at all, and that numbers have declined steadily over time, due to continual persecution.

This is in a country which should have a population estimated at 200 pairs of these iconic birds of the wild uplands.

Eric Gendle, Middlesbrough.