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Further poisoning investigation for Northern Constabulary

Last updated 04/06/2010

Update to news release by Northern Constabulary

Following a multi-agency wildlife crime operation in the Moy area yesterday Police can confirm that a 31-year-old man and a 19-year-old man have been reported to the Procurator Fiscal in connection with various alleged offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and alleged firearms offences.

A report has been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

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News release by Northern Constabulary

Northern Constabulary and partner agencies carry out intelligence led wildlife crime operation at an estate near Inverness

3 Jun 2010 14:9:6 GMT

This morning Thursday 3 June 2010 Police officers from Northern Constabulary, assisted by multi-agency partners (RSPB, SSPCA, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Wildlife Crime Unit, Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspectorate) took part in an intelligence led operation into allegations of wildlife crime in the Moy area.

This operation, which was focused on an estate in the Moy area, involved the searching of outbuildings, a large area of open ground and vehicles.

Around 25 Police officers were involved in the operation and included specialist wildlife crime officers, search officers, CID and scenes of crime staff. They were assisted by specialists from the aforementioned multi-agency partners.

This morning's operation saw Police recover a number of items of evidential value which have been removed for forensic examination. This is very much an ongoing inquiry and Police will continue to search for further evidence throughout the day.

This operation has been running for a number of weeks and over the past month Police have recovered a number of dead birds of prey, including Red Kites and other protected species. Also found in the area was a grouse carcass, which has since tested positive for an illegal poison.

The focus of the operation is the illegal poisoning of protected birds of prey and Northern Constabulary and its partners treat crimes of this nature extremely seriously.

Area Commander for Inverness, Chief Inspector Andy MacLean, said: "Wildlife crime is a blight on the environment and a serious concern to the public.

"Northern Constabulary consider such crime a serious risk to the safety of the public and have demonstrated today our intention to rigorously deal with reports of wildlife crime, in particular the poisoning of wildlife on open ground which is accessible to the public."

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Quotes from PAW Scotland partners

Environment Minister, and chair of PAW Scotland, Roseanna Cunningham said:

"While it's not appropriate to comment on an on-going investigation, I consider the persecution of any of our precious birds of prey to be totally unacceptable. These birds are part of Scotland's identity and the attitudes and practices that lead to them disappearing from our countryside have no place in modern society. We already have strong wildlife crime legislation in place to tackle this type of crime and our wildlife officers work tirelessly to enforce this. These are matters to which Parliament will be able to give further consideration in their deliberations on the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill which I plan to introduce to Parliament next week."

Scottish SPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said:

"We are always keen to support the police in the investigation of any wildlife crimes using the experience and expertise of the officers in our Special Investigations Unit. We take a zero-tolerance attitude towards any sort of wildlife crime, but the increasing practice of poisoning birds of prey causes the Society great concern. However, by working in partnership with a number of agencies, we are making good progress in tackling this disgusting and illegal activity."

Douglas McAdam, chief executive of the Scottish Rural Property and Business Association, said:

"We do not yet know the full facts of this case. We are appalled nonetheless at what appears to be yet further illegal persecution against Scotland's wildlife, but we do need to await the outcome of the legal process to determine where guilt lies. If illegal poisoning is proven then, as was clearly stated by many land owners across Scotland when they recently wrote to the Minister condemning such illegal criminal activity, those guilty must feel the full weight of the law as they are brought to justice.

Stuart Housden, director of RSPB Scotland, said:

"Serious crimes against our most spectacular birds and wildlife are utterly deplorable, and do major harm to our reputation as a country that values and cares for its wildlife and natural environment. There is a growing body of compelling evidence which demonstrates the scale and impact that illegal poisoning is having on the populations of iconic birds of prey such as the red kite and golden eagle. We welcome the prompt and thorough action of Northern Constabulary in particular, but also the National Wildlife Crime Unit and other agencies involved in the follow up to this case".

Detective Inspector Brian Stuart, Head of the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit said:

"Our staff provide support to police forces across the UK - and our Scottish Investigations Support Officer has been involved in a number of bird crime investigations in recent months. A partnership approach is vital in ensuring that scarce resources are used effectively and we will continue to work with police forces in eradicating wildlife crime. There is no place for the persecution of our wildlife in a modern Scotland and the Unit is dedicated to enforcing the laws that are in place to protect that wildlife.

Scottish Gamekeepers Association chairman, Alex Hogg, said:

"The Scottish Gamekeepers Association is fully committed to working alongside and supporting the Scottish Government in its strong stance against the scourge of illegal poisoning of protected species. We await the full results of the investigation into this incident. "