NI badger crime widespread in County Down, new report reveals

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Monday, December 11th, 2017
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There were fifty-one incidents pertaining to badgers reported to the PSNI in 2015, according to a report which highlights the disturbance and destruction of badgers and their setts in Northern Ireland.

The report has been published by the “Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime – Northern Ireland” (PAW), and has found that of these forty-one were categorised as incidents which may have constituted wildlife crime, including incidents of sett disturbance; suspected badger baiting; misuse of traps and snares.

 

 

Wildlife crime incidents against badgers in 2015 had a wide geographic distribution throughout Northern Ireland. 

However, most reports were made within County Down and within the north of that county particularly. 

It is widely believed that badger-related wildlife crime is under-reported in Northern Ireland. More hot-spot areas may come to light as awareness of badger-related crime increases and as the public increases in confidence in discerning what constitutes a badger crime that can be reported.

Should members of the public suspect that a Wildlife Crime has been committed, they are advised to pass information immediately on to the PSNI by dialling 101; describing the call as a Wildlife Crime report; giving details of the (potential) crime; and asking for an incident reference number.  Alternatively, information can be left anonymously with Crimestoppers at 0800 555 111.

 

 

Supt. Brian Kee, PSNI service lead for rural and wildlife crime said, “Police always take reports of badger persecution very seriously, and would be keen for any members of the public aware of possible offences to report to the PSNI on the 101 number.

“The badger is a legally protected animal and it is an offence to kill, injure/take a badger, possess or control a live or dead badger. It is an offence to damage, destroy or obstruct access to a sett.

“Whether these actions are intentional or reckless it remains an offence, and one which the PSNI will investigate and gather evidence with a view to prosecution. The addition of ‘reckless acts’ in the legislation does away with the defence that it was thought there was a non-protected species in the sett, for example a fox. Ignorance is no excuse!”

 

 

“I congratulate all PAW partners in working together to create this report which allows the partners and PSNI to strategically place resources into the areas of concern,” he added.

Peter Clarke from the Northern Ireland Badger Group said, “We are delighted to be part of this innovative strategic approach to tackle badger crime in Northern Ireland. The new Badger Persecution report is a great starting point in highlighting the crime hotspots and awareness campaigns will be designed specifically to target these areas. 

“It is vitally important that the whole Northern Ireland community assists the Police Service of Northern Ireland by reporting these often horrific wildlife crimes in a timely and accurate way so that the criminals involved can be apprehended and prosecuted.”

He added, “Partnership working is the key to stopping Badger persecution with all relevant agencies, charities, and voluntary groups like ourselves having vital roles to play in not only raising awareness about Badger persecution but also by giving proactive practical support to the PSNI.”

 

 

Brendan Mullan, Chief Executive of the USPCA commented, “The USPCA welcomes this report as a real opportunity to focus resources to catch the criminals engaged in this brutal activity. There are no winners in this – the dogs lose, and the badgers lose – both suffering horrific injuries or death.

Brendan added, “These people go out with long-handled spades and dogs and travel the country in vans. They are not invisible. We urge the public to be vigilant and report all suspicious activity.”

The full report is available to read or download at www.wildlifecrimeni.org

 


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