Over the last five years, 217 people have been found guilty of wildlife crimes in Scotland. These offences often include elements of organised crime, including illegal firearms and gambling.
‘While [salmon and freshwater fish] poaching is the most commonly recorded offence, crimes against our beautiful birds of prey and pearl mussels remain the most serious in terms of damage to Scotland’s natural environment and our reputation,’ said Paul Wheelhouse, Environment and Climate Change Minister. ‘Though the numbers involved are relatively small, there is absolutely no room for complacency.’
There were 19 proceedings for offences involving birds in 2012-2013, and 16 convictions, including nine incidents involving poisoning birds of prey. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has received a £45,000 grant from the Scottish government to provide training, support and advice across Scotland. The scheme is set to run until 2015, and has received £15,000 of pledged money so far.