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What To Do If You Encounter Wildlife Crime

Police Scotland are informing people living in Highland Perthshire about wildlife crime, what acts are illegal, and what to do if you discover someone committing a crime against wildlife or plants.

Wildlife Crime is described as any illegal act in Scotland that affects birds, animals, or plants. Acts can include the destruction, disturbance, theft, damage, and the illegal sale of plants and wild animals. As well as posing harm to the species, committing wildlife crimes can also cause damage to the communities that rely on wildlife for employment and tourism purposes.

Some examples of wildlife crime include:

  • Damage to Sites of Special Scientific Interest
  • The disturbance of sea mammals
  • Illegal use of traps and snares
  • Illegal cockle picking
  • Removal of birds nests from the eves of houses at certain times of the year.

If you discover anyone in Scotland committing any of these crimes please inform Police Scotland immediately. Every police division in Scotland has a Wildlife Crime Liaison Officer and there is also a network of part-time Wildlife Crime Officers within the force. If the Wildlife Crime Officers are unable to investigate at the time, all officers are able to carry out the investigation.

The Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service also have a dedicated Wildlife and Environmental Crime Unit. The Crown office works together with the police to ensure that they are trained to the highest level to ensure that investigations are carried out thoroughly and that the prosecution of wildlife crime is done properly.

As well as the police, there are also several specific Wildlife Crime Priorities that work across the UK, they are:

1. Bat Crime

2. Badger Persecution

3. Raptor (Birds of Prey) Persecution

4. Freshwater Pearl Mussels Persecution

5. CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) Issues

6. Poaching

7. 7 Cyber Enabled Wildlife Crime

If you suspect that a wildlife crime is taking place or has happened, there are some do’s and do not’s you should follow, these are:


  • Report any suspicious activity to Police Scotland by phoning 999, 101, or by emailing Contactus@scotland.pnn.police.uk and asking to speak to the Wildlife Crime Officer if they are available.
  • Make a note of the weather conditions as well as the date and time.
  • If possible, make note of a map reference or a What Three Words location of where the crime was discovered, or the location you saw the crime being committed from.
  • Note the criminal’s description such as their sex, height, clothing etc.
  • Take note of any vehicles that may be involved in the crime and identifying information such as make, model, colour, and registration numbers of the vehicle(s).
  • Speak to other witnesses and gather details from them such as their name and contact details.
  • If possible, take a video, photo or make a rough sketch of the crime.
  • Cover up any suspected poisoned baits or victims to help prevent any person or animal from coming into contact with it.
  • Report the suspected crime. Even if you are unsure as to whether a crime has been committed it is always better to report it as the evidence of a wildlife crime being committed is not always obvious.

Do not:

  • Disturb the scene by moving any objects or wandering around unnecessarily.
  • Touch dead animals or birds especially if you think they may have been poisoned.
  • Interfere with legal countryside practices such as the legal use of traps and snares, high seats, shooting butts, and hides.


  • Approach suspects or attempt to intervene if you suspect someone is committing a wildlife crime as this may put you in danger.

For more information on Wildlife Crime, visit: https://www.scotland.police.uk/contact-us/report-wildlife-crime

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