Hampshire Constabulary say that they are investigating after receiving a report of a man trespassing within a secure area at RSPB Brading Marshes nature reserve on the evening of Friday 6th May. It’s reported that the man was accompanied by a dog off a lead, and the dog was disturbing nesting birds within the swamp habitat.
It’s said that the male was challenged by an RSPB volunteer, but that he simply responded to say he will do what he likes.
Now, Polie are urging members of the public to take extra care and caution when visiting open spaces and nature reserves on the Isle of Wight to ensure the protection of wildlife and nesting birds.
A spokesperson for Hampshire Constabulary has said:
“This attitude is incredibly disappointing and poses a threat to our wildlife. This report has been passed to local officers who will be looking into the circumstances.
“We have a close community of wildlife lovers on the Isle of Wight, and we ask everyone to please be responsible and to familiarise themselves with the law.
“Please respect the law and respect our wildlife. If you are visiting a reserve with nesting birds present, please keep dogs on leads, stick to public footpaths and keep out of restricted areas.
“If you witness any behaviour that puts wildlife at risk, you can report this to police on 101 and our dedicated Country Watch team will look into the circumstances”.
What does the law say?
All birds, their nests and eggs are protected by law under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb any wild bird listed on Schedule 1 while it is nest building, or at a nest containing eggs or young, or to disturb the dependent young of such a bird. Regardless of your intentions, if your actions are reckless then you are in breach of the law.
Details of Schedule 1 birds, and the other schedules relating to the treatment and protection of wild birds can be found at https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/wildlife-and-the-law/wildlife-and-countryside-act/schedules/.
Under the act, it is also illegal to intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird, or intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built.
There are further clauses to the legislation that Police encourage the public to mindful of – https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/wildlife-and-the-law/wildlife-and-countryside-act/#:~:text=All%20birds%2C%20their%20nests%20and,in%20use%20or%20being%20built.
Contravention of the law could result in prosecution with a penalty of up to 6 months imprisonment, an unlimited fine, or both.
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