Operation Wilderness takes flight

Police using motion detection cameras to snare crooks who prey on birds.

Motion detection cameras are being used by police around the clock in Devon during an operation that aims to tackle bird crime.

Operation Wilderness is being led by wildlife crime officer PC Josh Marshall.

He hopes the use of 24-hour cameras will help police collect evidence of anyone illegally disturbing some of the county’s rarest bird species.

The cameras are being placed at pre-identified locations, at nest sites considered vulnerable to persecution or disturbance.

“We hope they will give us sufficient evidence to assist with any prosecution,” said PC Marshall.

The operation follows a series of crimes against birds of prey in Devon last year.

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Four Goshawks and one buzzard were discovered poisoned in woodland near Exeter. A number of Peregrine Falcons were also found poisoned in the region.

Tony Whitehead, of RSPB South West, said: “Crimes against wild birds continues to be a problem.

“In a survey recently, the area was identified as the fifth worst in England.

“We remain particularly concerned about the spate of bird of prey poisonings last year and persistent threat from a small but obsessive community of egg collectors.”

The wildlife cameras were funded by the Devon Bird Watching and Preservation Society (DBWPS).

Offenders face a �5,000 fine and six months’ imprisonment.

If anyone has information regarding bird crime they should call police on 101.

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