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PAW Scotland - What You Can Do

What should I be looking for?

  • Dead animals, including birds, in particular those found in suspicious circumstances
  • Suspicious vehicles
  • People you are unfamiliar with in your local area. Many offenders travel great distances to commit crimes in rural areas

For more specific lists of things to look out for, please see our pages on types of wildlife crime.

Who should I be reporting to?

You should contact the police as soon as you can.

When you call you may want to ask to be put through to the 'Wildlife Crime Officer' for the area. They have the expertise to provide advice if you are unsure of what you are reporting. If they are not available, you will still be able to report the incident. As with all other reports you should ask to be given an incident number for reference in future.

The alternative to contacting your police force is to contact Crimestoppers.
Calling Crimestoppers is free on a landline, will not appear on your phone bill and their promise of anonymity has never been broken.

Wildlife crime reporting app

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

The app allows users to access basic guidelines on do's and don'ts at a crime scene, and complete an on-screen form to record the suspected wildlife crime. Users can also attach two photographs which are automatically tagged with a GPS reference of the location. The information is then sent to Police Scotland by email.

Download the App free from the iTunes store...

Do's and Don'ts

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Do take photos.
If you have a camera with you take photos (or videos) of the scene.


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Do take careful note of exact locations of anything that might be useful evidence.
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Don't touch or move evidence.
If something has been interfered with, it may no longer be admissible in court. Try not to walk around the scene unnecessarily.

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Don't touch dead birds or animals that you have found, especially if you suspect they may have been poisoned or could be poisoned bait. Most of the substances used are extremely dangerous and you may put yourself at risk.

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Don't interfere with traps/snares, damage hides, high seats or shooting butts. If you do, you could be the one answering to the law.

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Do report. Even if you are not sure - report the incident. The evidence of wildlife crime is not always obvious.

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Do write down vehicle registration numbers, don't trust to memory.

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Do consider other witnesses. It is always best if there is more than one witness to a suspected crime under Scots law - so if you are with other people, make sure that they see what you see.

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Never intervene if you see someone you suspect is involved in committing a wildlife crime.

This could be dangerous. Take careful note of exactly what is happening and report it.

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