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 local rambler, who asked not to be named, first found four sacks of dead gamebirds in Hawnby Road, near Helmsley, on November 26.

They returned to the same sight last week to find several hundred more dead pheasants in piles.

“The birds were in different states of decomposition so therefore it is a regular dumping ground,” they added.

“Huge quantities of pheasants are being released and habitat is being compromised by building more huge release pens while large tracts of bluebells and wildflowers being mowed out to aid pheasants to forage

“We also have increased wildlife control, including raptor persecution, North Yorkshire being the highest offending county.

"The sad part being, unlike the old days when guns and beaters all took a brace of birds home with them, nowadays so many are shot that they are buried in pits or just chucked out of a vehicle at the side of a road."

Mrs Thorpe said it was an appalling thing to do.

“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.”