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, Northumbria Police has joined up with 25 other forces and are asking people who see a wildlife crime scene to ensure they accurately record information and report it to their local force.
Two events are taking place across the weekend to show support and take action as part of Operation Owl. They will give people the opportunity to speak with officers and partners such as The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Friends of Red Kite representatives about the issue and how the public 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 21).
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: “Disturbing our natural environment by shooting, trapping and poisoning birds of prey is a criminal offence. I therefore welcome the work of forces across the country via Operation Owl, to increase awareness of birds of prey persecution, and to engage with our rural communities and partners in addressing these crimes.
“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