Police appeal after illegal pole trap found near Dunkeswell
PUBLISHED: 15:37 04 October 2016 | UPDATED: 15:38 04 October 2016
Police attended a location near Dunkeswell following a tip-off, where they discovered a live, baited pole trap - but it had been removed when they returned to the site a day later.
Witnesses are being sought by police and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSBP) 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 following a tip-off, where they discovered a live, baited pole trap.
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, added: “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 email@example.com quoting crime reference CR/56051/16.