FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION
The RSPB and Devon and Cornwall Police are appealing for witnesses after a trap designed to kill birds of prey was found on farmland, next to a pheasant release pen.
Police attended a location near Dunkeswell, in the Blackdown Hills, East Devon, following a tip off recently, where they discovered a live, baited pole trap.
Police officers photographed the trap, which was set and ready to use, but left it in situ. When police returned the next day the trap had been removed. Further visits accompanied by the RSPB’s investigations unit have yielded no more information.
Pole traps have been outlawed for more than 100 years and work by smashing the bird’s legs when it lands on the trigger plate.
Mark Thomas, a senior investigations officer at the RSPB, said: “There is a reason why these traps have been illegal for so long, they are barbaric and they are designed to kill protected birds of prey.”
Inspector Martin Taylor, wildlife crime co-ordinator for Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “Despite it being illegal for over a century, we are still getting reports of spring traps being placed on poles or perches set to kill birds of prey.
“We will prosecute anyone setting these indiscriminate and lethal traps.”
Birds of prey habitually use posts as lookouts when hunting and in this case the trap had been baited using meat to encourage a bird to land.
The trap’s presence was reported on August 11 and police first visited the following day. The RSPB is offering a reward of £1,000 for information that leads to a successful prosecution.
Anybody with information should contact Devon and Cornwall Police by phoning 101 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org quoting crime reference CR/56051/16.
For further information, images, or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Chris Baker, RSPB Communications Officer, 01392 453299 / 07701 050010
Tel: 01392 453299
Mobile: 07701 050010
South West Regional Office, 4th Floor (North Block), Broadwalk House, Southernhay West, Exeter, Devon, EX1 1TS
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The RSPB is the country’s largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations.
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