Police backing owl protection operation
West Mercia Police is backing a national campaign to protect owls.
This weekend the force is joining Operation Owl, a national campaign which seeks to raise awareness of and prevent the persecution of birds of prey in the countryside.
Operation Owl is a North Yorkshire Police-led initiative, in partnership with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the RSPCA.
While it is a criminal offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to intentionally kill, injure or take wild birds, birds of prey are still being shot, poisoned and trapped in the countryside.
Superintendent Sue Thomas, rural crime lead for West Mercia Police, said: “I’m delighted that we are supporting Operation Owl this year to increase awareness of the persecution of birds of prey in our rural communities.
“Sadly this type of crime is not uncommon and we will be working closely with our partners to reduce and prevent crimes of this nature as one of our rural crime priorities is around the persecution of birds of prey.
“This weekend officers will be out and about engaging with our rural communities, highlighting what signs to look for when identifying a bird of prey that has been intentionally hurt or killed, and highlighting the ways in which the public can report crimes against our wildlife.
“We will be encouraging the public to act as our eyes and ears, keeping a look out for dead or injured birds, poisoned bait and pole traps, and asking that they report these to us by calling 101.
“We will not tolerate crimes against our wildlife and will do everything in our power to both prevent crimes of this nature and bring those responsible to justice.”
For more information about Operation Owl and crimes relating to birds of prey, including what to look for and how to report anything suspicious to police, visit www.operationowl.com.
Follow the hashtag #OpOwlUK to keep up-to-date with the campaign's activity over the weekend.