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PAW Scotland - News - 2013 Archive

15 January 2013

Lothian and Borders Police Wildlife Crime Seminar

Lothian and Borders Police will be holding a wildlife crime seminar between 7pm and 9.30pm on Wednesday 6th February 2013 at the Lecture Theatre, Scottish Borders College, Galashiels. The seminar is open to everyone but will be of particular interest to gamekeepers, stalkers, land managers, land owners and farmers. There will be presentations on topics including licensing, general licences, vicarious liability and rural security.

To book a place at the seminar, or for any queries, please contact PC Ruaraidh Hamilton, Lothian and Borders Police Wildlife Crime Co-ordinator:


1830-1900: Arrival and Refreshment
1900-1910: Introduction and Welcome, Supt Andrew Allan, Lothian and Borders Police
1910-1940: Licences, Dr Ben Ross, SNH
1940-1955: General Licences and Snaring, Kenny Willmitt, BASC
1955-2025: Vicarious Liability, David McKie, Levy Macrae Solicitors
2025-2040: Break
2040-2050: Cross Compliance, Angus MacAskill, SGRIPD
2050-2100: Firearms Licencing, Alan Trimby, Firearms Dept, Lothian and Borders Police
2050-2120: Rural Security, PC Brian Lile, Community Safety Dept, Lothian and Borders Police
2120-2130: Questions and Close.


18 January 2013Kevin Findlater

Scottish Wildlife Crime Officer Awarded MBE

In the 2013 New Years Honours List, Chief Inspector Kevin Findlater was awarded an MBE for his service to the environment and to the communities within Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.

29 years ago, Kevin became one of the first Wildlife Crime Officers in the country, and has been involved in the area ever since. In recent years he has been the Central Scotland Police lead on all aspects of wildlife and environmental crime and in 2011, took over as the chair of PAW Scotland's Training and Awareness Sub-Group. Kevin is retiring from the police force and from his role in PAW Scotland at the end of March this year, but plans to continue the voluntary environmental work he has always done.

Minister for Environment and Climate Change, and chair of PAW Scotland, Mr Paul Wheelhouse, said:

"I congratulate Chief Inspector Kevin Findlater on receiving this award in recognition of his contribution to Scottish policing. Scotland's wildlife is an integral component of what makes Scotland unique as well as being vital to our tourism sector and the wider economy. Having met Kevin I know how committed he has been to protecting Scotland's wildlife, and on behalf of PAW Scotland, I would like to thank Kevin for all his hard work in the fight against those who perpetrate wildlife and environmental crime, both in Central Scotland, and at a national level."


24 January 2013

Continued Funding for National Wildlife Crime Unit

The Minister for Environment and Climate Change and Chair of PAW Scotland, Mr Paul Wheelhouse, has welcomed the announcement of continued funding for the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU). This announcement, which was made by the UK Environment Minister Richard Benyon, secures the funding of the NWCU for another year. The unit is co-funded by the Scottish Government, Home Office, DEFRA and other organisations.

Minister for the Environment and PAW Chairman Paul Wheelhouse said:

“The National Wildlife Crime Unit, which is based in Livingston, makes a crucial contribution to the fight against wildlife crime in Scotland and I am delighted that their immediate future has now been secured.

“In addition to collating and dealing with intelligence, the unit also contributes through the co-ordinated assistance it provides to PAW Scotland, Wildlife Crime Officers, NGO’s and other agencies.”


13 February 2013

Grampian Police to hold Rural Crime Event at Thainstone

Grampian Police are holding a rural and wildlife crime event as part of efforts to reduce the likelihood and the impact of crime on rural communities in the north east.

It is aimed at those living and working in rural areas of Grampian. Presentations by Grampian Police Crime Reduction, Wildlife Crime and Roads Policing Units will address key areas of rural crime. There will also be a number of key stakeholders to provide delegates with specialist information and advice, including industry experts in building and property security, countryside access, firearms licensing, species licensing and land ownership sectors.

The event will take place at Inverurie's Thainstone Centre from 9.30am to 1.30pm on Saturday 23 March 2013.

To apply for a free ticket for the Rural Crime event or for further information, please contact Grampian Police on 0845 600 5 700, or e-mail: PC Lisa-Marie Dick at


14 March 2013

Sharp fall in birds of prey poisoned

Bird of Prey Poisoning Incidents Scotland 2008-2012Incidents drop by 70 per cent, but no cause for complacency.

The number of bird of prey poisoning incidents in Scotland has decreased significantly, according to the latest ‘hotspot map’ for 2012.

The maps published today by the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) Scotland, show the number and general location of confirmed illegal poisonings in 2012, and cumulative figures for 2008 to 2012. A total of three poisoning incidents were recorded in 2012 resulting in the deaths of three birds of prey: two buzzards and a golden eagle. This compares to 10 incidents and 16 birds of prey poisoned in 2011 – a drop in incident numbers of 70 per cent.

Poisoning Hotspots>>

To view the map 2008-2012>>

To view the map 2012>>

Read the Scottish Government News Release>>


19 March 2013

Environmental criminals fined £15,000 for major water pollution

The directors of two companies were fined today for polluting waters in Perthshire and Argyll and killing a protected population of freshwater pearl mussels.

Read the full Crown Office press release


20 March 2013

Get Ready for Change

Countryside organisations within PAW Scotland are reminding those intending to use snares for legal predator control to make sure they are ready for the legislative changes to snaring that are due to take place from 1st April 2013.

Read the full article...


9 April 2013

Rhino DNA database established

Scientists at the Scottish Government are collating rhino DNA to set up a database to be used by police investigating rhino horn theft.

Read the full story...


22 April 2013

Heads up for Harriers

New initiative urges public to report sightings of hen harriers

An initiative aimed at conserving one of Scotland’s most charismatic birds – the hen harrier – is launched today.

Hen Harrier thumbnail. Copyright Laurie Campbell www.lauriecampbell.comEnvironment Minister and chairman of the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime (PAW Scotland) Paul Wheelhouse is urging bird-watchers, land managers, hill-walkers and all other members of the public to look out for and report sightings of hen harriers. People are being asked to record details of gender, behaviour and place, date and time of sighting. This will help PAW Scotland to build valuable information on these birds, recording what happens to them in order to conserve the species for future generations.

Read the full press release...

Get involved...


3 June 2013

NWCU launches new website

NWCU LogoThe National Wildlife Crime Unit, based in Livingston, launched their website on 3 June 2013. This website allows viewers to learn more about what wildlife crime is, the work of the Unit and how they can report suspected incidents of wildlife crime.

Visit the new NWCU website...


17 June 2013

Environment Minister responds to alleged raptor persecution incidents

Following reports of police investigations into alleged raptor persecution incidents, including the destruction of a Sea Eagle nest in Angus, Environment Minister and Chair of PAW Scotland Paul Wheelhouse issued the following statement.

“This incident is under police investigation and I am therefore unable to comment in detail, but if reports are correct this is a shocking and brutal way to end the nesting attempts of a pair of young sea eagles. I know the Scottish public will be similarly shocked by such reports particularly as this was the first attempt by the species to nest in the east of Scotland for 100 years.

“I have been clear that if we are faced with continuing incidents involving raptor persecution, whether that is poisoning, or shooting, trapping or nest destruction I would take action.

“I have been made aware of this incident and others, and so have been working with officials to develop further measures which will target those who continue to flout the law and I will announce further details shortly.”


21 June 2013

Police Scotland and RSPB Scotland appeal for information after red kite found dead

Police Scotland and RSPB Scotland are appealing for information after it emerged that a protected red kite has been found dead in Aberdeenshire.

The bird was discovered in an area of woodland near Aboyne on Royal Deeside by a walker on 6th April.

After recovery of the carcass, a post mortem was carried out. This revealed that the bird's death was not by natural causes.

Read the full story on RSPB Scotland's website


Environment Minister announces new measures to tackle raptor persecutionPaul Wheelhouse MSP

1 July 2013

The Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Mr Paul Wheelhouse, today announced a package of new measures to tackle the ongoing persecution of birds of prey.

Read the Minister's statement in full...

Read the SG press release...


Appeals for information following suspected wildlife crime incidents

17 July 2013

Updated 2 September: Police Scotland have now confirmed that the buzzard found near to Carcant Hill had also been poisoned.

Police Scotland are appealing for information after a buzzard was found dead lying next to a forestry plantation close to Carcant Hill in the Scottish Borders. Post Mortem examination indicated that the bird had been deliberately shot however due to the decomposed state of the carcass it is unknown whether this caused the animal to die.

Read the Police Scotland press release...

Police in St Andrews are investigating the the death of 12 pipistrelle bats found at the foot of a tree on the Eden Estuary at Guardbridge, Fife. A post-mortem examination showed the bats had suffered trauma.

Read the Police Scotland press release...

In another incident, RSPB Scotland have appealed for information after a rare black-throated diver, which was found dead on the shore of Loch Gowan, near Achnasheen in Wester-Ross, was confirmed to have been shot.

Read the RSPB Scotland press release...

Anyone with information on any of these incidents should contact Police Scotland on 101 and ask to speak to a wildlife crime officer. If you wish to remain anonymous please contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


4th Fife Partnership Against Wildlife Crime Seminar

16 August 2013

A fourth seminar will be held by Fife Partnership Against Wildlife Crime on 6 November 2013. Full details are on the agenda below. Should you wish to attend please email Fife Wildlife Crime Liaison Officer Ian Laing at, indicating how many places you require. If you are not personally interested but know someone who might be, please pass this information on. The event itself is free and coffee/tea will be provided.


Fife Partnership Against Wildlife Crime - 4th Wildlife Crime Seminar
Police Scotland, Fife Divisional Headquarters, Glenrothes
Wednesday 6 November 2013, 7pm

7.00pm Coffee

7.30pm Welcome and housekeeping - Superintendent Dougie Milton, Fife Division, Police Scotland

7.40pm John Bruce, Chairman, British Deer Society - Chronic Wasting Disease

8.00pm Kenny Wilmitt, BASC - Open General Licences

8.20pm Dr Gill Hartley, Senior Wildlife Biologist, SASA- 2nd generation rodenticides

8.40pm Break

9.00pm Ron Smith, Professional Stalker - Lowland Deer Network Scotland and Fife Deer Management Group


Wildlife Crime in Scotland - first annual report publishedWildlife Crime in Scotland - 2012 Annual Report Cover. Image copyright Peter Sandground/SNH

30 September 2013

Raptor poisonings have dropped dramatically in the last three years though other forms of persecutions remain high according to a report published today.

Figures published earlier this year show raptor poisoning incidents have fallen from thirty in 2009 to three in 2012. This report shows there were ten further police recorded raptor crimes in 2012 ranging from egg theft to trapping and shooting.

The report illustrates, for the first time in one publication, the extent of wildlife crime in Scotland. It brings together key data from Scottish Government Justice Department, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, Police Scotland and the National Wildlife Crime Unit.

As well as detailing offences from 2012 the report lays the foundations for building a clearer picture of trends in wildlife crime in Scotland. As the data series develops it will provide greater clarity year-on-year and guide future action for the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime – PAW Scotland.

Read the Wildlife Crime in Scotland - 2012 Annual Report

Read the Scottish Government press release


App-lying the Law

Wildlife Crime App Launched

Wildlife Crime Reporting App5 November 2013

An app has been launched that will enable people to record and report suspected cases of wildlife crime directly to Police Scotland via their iphone.

The app is the brainchild of former Wildlife Crime Education Officer, Andy Turner who was looking for a way to improve awareness, detection and reporting of wildlife crime throughout Scotland.

Download the App free from the iTunes store...

Read the Scottish Government press release...


Scottish Pearl Mussel Investigation Wins WWF Award

3 December 2013

A team of officers from several Scottish enforcement agencies have won the WWF-sponsored award for 'Wildlife Crime Operation of the Year' in relation to their ground-breaking freshwater pearl mussel case.

Minister for Environment and Climate Change and PAW Scotland Chairman, Paul Wheelhouse MSP said:

“I am delighted that a team in Scotland has won this award for action against wildlife crime, particularly one that recognises the value of collaboration across different agencies.

“The River Lyon held a vulnerable population of freshwater pearl mussels which may never recover but thanks to this dedicated team of people we have at least achieved a successful prosecution which has sent an extremely clear message.

“Our natural environment is part of what makes Scotland unique and it is through the dedication and hard work of teams like this that we can ensure our precious wildlife is protected. I congratulate the team at SNH, SEPA and the National Wildlife Crime Unit and I hope they will continue the good work in the future.”

Read the full WWF Press Release...


Buzzard Poisoned in Stirlingshire

18 December 2013

Police Scotland are appealing for information after it was confirmed that a dead buzzard found in Stirlingshire in September had been poisoned.

Minister for Environment and Climate Change, and chair of PAW Scotland Mr Paul Wheelhouse said:

“This is an unnacceptable act against a protected species. It will be a matter of great concern to any right-minded person that this is not an isolated case.

“Crimes such as the poisoning of this buzzard strongly reinforce, and give a very clear justification for, the need for the measures I announced earlier in the year. We are making good progress with developing the mechanisms to put those measures into practice. We must eliminate the notion in the minds of these selfish and reckless individuals that they can carry out these criminal actions with impunity.”

Read the Police Scotland press release...


Golden Eagle Poisoned in Angus

19 December 2013

Police Scotland are carrying out enquiries after tests established that a Golden Eagle found dead in Angus earlier this month was poisoned.

The bird was discovered in the Glen Lethnot area in Angus after suspicions were raised by satellite tracking equipment that indicated it had remained in the same place for a significant period of time.

As police investigations continue, officers request that anyone who was in the Glen Lethnot and surrounding areas between November 10 and November 25 contact Police Scotland.

Minister for Environment and Climate Change, and chair of PAW Scotland Mr Paul Wheelhouse said:

"The golden eagle is one of Scotland’s most iconic animals and was recently voted the winner of Scotland’s Big 5. I am disgusted and angry at the news of the discovery of a poisoned golden eagle in the Angus Glens which appears to be a deliberate, illegal and cruel action against a protected species.

"The killing of Scotland’s wildlife is a stain on Scotland’s reputation. A reputation on which many of our industries such as tourism, recreation and food and drink rely heavily. It is a great regret that such actions undermine the reputation of sporting estates at a time when there has been genuine progress on the part of the majority of estates and gamekeepers. The actions of a small and ignorant minority are extremely damaging and the Scottish public will rightly be outraged by this news and I share that sense of outrage."

Read the Police Scotland press release...