Police target Westcountry bird egg snatchers through CCTV
A police operation involving the use of covert CCTV has been re-launched in the Westcountry to combat the theft of bird eggs and the poisoning of birds of prey.
Operation Wilderness, which was introduced in the region last year, is designed to combat the persecution of birds, say police.
Wild birds' breeding season begins soon and police are appealing to the public to be the 'eyes and ears' on the ground and inform them of any suspicious people they may see at nesting sites.
PC Josh Marshall, wildlife crime officer within Devon, said: "I have to say that 2012 was a great year for these rare species in the region and Devon and Cornwall Police would like to repeat the success this year.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
"Sadly, in some cases, illegal activity has led to the disappearance of some species from our region – but with the public's help we want to minimise the risk of that happening again."
In the past the region's birds have been targeted by egg collectors and others intent on breaking the law when near to the nests of some species.
In 2011, Devon made national headlines when a record number of birds of prey were found poisoned in the area, among them very rare and specially protected species.
Operation Wilderness uses covert camera technology installed at locations within the region near to the nests.
Their purpose is to capture images of any people going too near to the nest sites. This enables the police to gain vital evidence needed for prosecutions.
Cameras will again be deployed around Devon at sensitive nest sites in an attempt to deter and detect these offences, for which sentences can attract a six-month prison sentence or a fine of up to £5,000.
The breeding season for some of the Westcountry rarest breeding birds begins during late March and continues into the summer; for some species this finishes in August.
Within the region, birds listed under schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 include the goshawk, peregrine falcon, hobby and barn owls.
Smaller species such as the nationally rare cirl bunting which are only found in the South West also breed in numbers here.
Some other species that breed within the region others are the dartford warbler, woodlark, kingfisher, crossbill, and cettis warbler.