Bird crime is rising across the south, the RSPB has revealed.

The organisation says persecution of British birds is on the increase across the region – with its investigations unit dealing with 44 incidents in 2012 compared with 40 in 2011.

Among the incidents include the poisoning of two buzzards in Hampshire.

They were poisoned with the banned pesticide Alphachloralose, which has been illegal since 2008.

Investigations into the poisonings are still ongoing and the RSPB was unable to confirm the area of the county the crimes took place.

As reported by the Daily Echo, there were a number of bird thefts across Hampshire in the last year.

Pensioner Stan Jones, 79, and his wife Margaret, 76, were left devastated when thieves stole all 52 of his prized canaries from an aviary at their home in Totton in July.

In October a hunt was launched after thieves took £60,000 worth of high value show birds bred by national expert Michael Freeborn at his home in Nursling.

Parrots, macaws, canaries and finches valued at thousands of pounds were targeted in five raids last year that are believed to have been linked.

Mark Thomas, senior investigations officer at the RSPB, said people who target wildlife with poisons put the public and iconic species at risk.

He said: “These are very serious incidents; the poisoning of the buzzards was a deliberate act, where somebody laced a bait with the deadly pesticide Alpha, knowing it would kill.

“With buzzards increasing sadly they have become a barometer of wildlife crime. Many of these offences occur on private land, so the confirmed cases are just the tip of the iceberg.

“If people notice anything suspicious, such as a dead raptor lying next to a dead rabbit, that strongly points to poisoning, as the predator will have been killed by eating the carcass.”