RSPB tells public to call 999 to report wildlife crimes after Norfolk

The RSPB has told worried birdwatchers to call the police to report nature crimes after a council delayed the removal of netting over the nests of migrating sand martins, which had flown thousands of miles to nest and lay eggs.Wildlife activists reported seeing a kestrel become entangled in the wide holes of the netting covering over a kilometre of the cliff at Bacton beach, north Norfolk.The netting was put in place to deter birds from nesting as part of an anti-erosion scheme to protect a local gas terminal.Locals say that winds caused parts of the material to fall down overnight, meaning some sand martins managed to get to their nests. The RSPB said that if reports are accurate, this means the council and contractors could be committing a wildlife crime, as disturbing a live nest is illegal under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act.A spokesperson for the local RSPB said: “All wild birds whilst they are nesting are protected by the countryside act so if they are being disturbed that is an offence and we would recommend the witness calls the police.”If contractors are aware of birds being caught and are not taking action, that is a crime. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “If anyone sees a crime in action then call 999. And a crime would be birds getting trapped or caught in the netting.” Sand martins nest in the sandy cliffs at Bacton - unless they are prevented from doing so by netting North Norfolk District Council promised on Tuesday that the netting would be removed within 24 hours – but delayed this to 48 hours by Wednesday morning, angering animal experts.Prof Ben Garrod from the University of East Anglia said this delay could “absolutely” cause the birds to become injured or die.He said: “This is why it’s such a horrible thing because councils and companies are putting these nests up before they start nesting so it doesn’t cause a nest disturbance on a technicality.”Each little sand martin can lay 4-5 eggs a season, they are only here for a few weeks and every day that this is delayed reduces the chance they will lay”We have the privilege of this little animal coming to visit our shores and we have put netting up and turned our back on them.”Juli Kett-Brodie, a local animal enthusiast who has been on the beach to watch the birds said she saw a kestrel become entangled in the nets. Kestrels are a threatened species and have amber protection in the UK. She said: “We saw a kestrel yesterday trying to land, and the third time he tried to land he got caught up, we started running towards him and he managed to get free and fly away.”There is a massive risk of this large netting that other animals can get caught in.”We have seals all along the coast and had a really high tide yesterday. We were on a peaceful protest march last night and we found a whole load of netting on the beach.”I’m fed up with the wildlife in Norfolk being trampled over for financial gain.”North Norfolk District Council said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon that it is working “at pace” to resolve the issue. Sand martins nest in the sandy cliffs at Bacton – unless they are prevented from doing so by nettingCredit:Jason Bye

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>