Ben Farmer, defence correspondent
24 MARCH 2018 • 6:00AM
Police on British military bases in Cyprus have used drones and night vision goggles to turn the tide in a campaign against illegal trappers catching and killing hundreds of thousands of songbirds.
Officers working with forces personnel estimate they have cut the number of migratory songbirds caught in trappers’ nets by as much as 70 per cent and destroyed large amounts of kit used to catch them.
The year-long crackdown on illegal bird poaching on the British sovereign bases in Cyprus has resulted in a "huge" drop in the number of poachers operating inside the bases' territory.
Small migratory birds such as blackcaps are considered a traditional delicacy by some Cypriots and sophisticated trapping feeds a multimillion-pound illicit trade.
Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary, said: “Bird trapping is not only a cruel and barbaric trade, it lines the pockets of criminal gangs to the tune of thousands of pounds.