Birds of prey project aims to protect future of Northumberland wildlife

A police campaign codenamed Operation Owl is set to target the unlawful killing of birds of prey.

Thursday, 19th September 2019, 4:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th September 2019, 4:47 pm
Efforts to protect birds of prey are at the centre of the police operation, which will see Northumbria Police join 25 other forces to stop the illegal killing of birds.

This weekend, Rural Crime teams in 26 police forces across the country will be intensifying their efforts to tackle the persecution of birds of prey.

As part of Operation Owl, among them is Northumbria Police, which is asking people who see a wildlife crime scene to play their part in helping record the details to officers.

Two events are taking place as part of the campaign, giving people the chance to speak with officers and partners including The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Friends of Red Kite to find out how they can help.

Both events, one at Kielder Waterside in Leaplish and one at the Bird Of Prey Centre in Haggerston, will run from 10am until 4pm on Saturday, September.

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Local Wildlife Officer Pc Lee Davison, from Northumbria Police, said: “We need to educate people about the risks and consequences of killing birds of prey. It is a criminal offence and the public can help us root out those responsible by sharing information or reporting crimes.

“Birds like peregrines, red kites and hen harriers are deliberately shot, trapped and poisoned in our countryside.

“The more information available to law enforcement through reporting, the greater chance we have of prosecuting offenders.

“If you notice anything suspicious, like a dead or injured bird of prey or a trap then call officers immediately. Be sure to take photos where possible and remember not to interfere with what could be a potential crime scene.

“Together we can help put an end to the illegal killing of birds of prey.”

National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Rural Crime, Chief Constable Darren Martland said: “Our ask of the public is simple: if you come across a wildlife crime scene, for example seeing a dead bird or objects that may be related to a wildlife crime, accurately record what you find and report it to police.

“The more information available to law enforcement, the greater chance we have of prosecuting offenders.”

For more information about Operation Owl, and what to look out for in identifying bird of prey persecution, please visit www.operationowl.com.