Operation Easter targets wild bird egg thieves
Police Wildlife Crime Officers in Devon and Cornwall is calling on the public to keep a look out for suspicious activity around wild birds’ nests.
It is part of an annual operation, which is backed by nationally-gathered intelligence, to tackle egg thieves.
This year, the police are asking members of the public to be their eagle eyes and let them know if they see any activity that suggests that nests of wild birds are being interfered with or eggs are being taken.
Some people will go to any lengths to raid the nests of rare wild birds but Operation Easter, which runs throughout the nesting season, from the spring into early summer, is aimed at tackling the problem.
Developed in Scotland 24 years ago, the operation is facilitated by the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) in conjunction with UK police forces and partner agencies. The operation targets egg thieves by sharing intelligence across the UK to support enforcement action.
PC Martin Beck, Rural Affairs Officer for Devon, said: “We have a great and varied number of birds in the South West which we should enjoy, respect and protect. This does however attract some the attention of a small number of people who want to take wild bird eggs.
“This practice has been banned for many decades but sadly still goes on. The operation is asking members of the public to let the police know if they see people interfering with nests or taking eggs. The intention of this operation is to ensure that intelligence opportunities are maximised in order to prevent, disrupt or investigate possible offences. Be our eagle eyes.”
The taking of wild bird eggs is a serious crime. Whole clutches of eggs can be taken from some of the UK’s rarest birds with potentially devastating impacts. The eggs are stored in secret collections.
Chief Inspector Kevin Kelly (head of the NWCU) says: “Operation Easter is a yearly event that is engrained within wildlife crime policing. This year we have given the operation some much needed emphasis, focusing our efforts on to assisting Police Wildlife Crime Officers on the front line.
“The NWCU collates and disseminates the information that identifies the hotspot areas where the crimes are likely to be committed and we work with police officers and partners to ensure these areas of interest are given the attention they deserve, to protect the future of our wild birds. We have a number of skilled and dedicated Police Wildlife Crime Officers across the UK who have adopted this operation and will work with us to reduce criminality, and for this, I thank them greatly.”
If you have any information on egg thieves, or those who disturb rare nesting birds without a licence, you should contact the police by emailing email@example.com or calling them on 101 – ask to speak to a wildlife crime officer if possible.
Information can also be passed in confidence to Crimestoppers via 0800 555111.