Dorset Police investigate reported disturbance of nesting peregrines

There have been a few reports in the media (e.g. here and here) about climbers and a drone-user disturbing breeding peregrines this week on cliffs in Portland, Dorset. This is an offence under the Wildlife & Countryside Act.

[Photos by Weymouth & Dorset Police]

Apart from the fact that there’s supposed to be a lockdown, Police wildlife crime officers have stated that they will look to prosecute anybody ignoring the ‘clear signage’ to stay away from the nest sites between 1 March and 30 June:

These signs have been in place for years, initiated by local climbers keen to protect the peregrines (see here).

5 Responses to “Dorset Police investigate reported disturbance of nesting peregrines”

  1. 1 Paul V Irving
    March 26, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    I suspect that there will be lots of deliberate disturbance by those who object to the presence of raptors in particular places in this period of restrictions. We are reliant on the few who can monitor such places against the actions of opportunist criminal morons.

    • 2 Mike Brown
      March 26, 2020 at 9:00 pm

      I’m sure you are right Paul. I think all manner of morons will take advantage of the “Lockdown” from simple antisocial behaviour to wllidlife crime. I was infuriated to see that our “moorland friends” had caused 20 fire appliances from West Yorkshire to attend a moorland blaze. Mike.

  2. 3 John L
    March 27, 2020 at 9:29 am

    It will be of concern to all who are engaged in raptor preservation that, both North Yorkshire Police and Derbyshire Police appear to be taking measures to prevent public access to the National Parks and grouse moors at a time when game keepers are active on the moors, and engaged in activities to maximise the number of breeding grouse this season.
    (It was reported on 26th March that Derbyshire police deployed a drone at Curbar, and North Yorkshire police have stated officers will be setting up road checks)

    Surely, the police need public support and vigilance up in these remote places if operation Owl is to be successful?

    Whilst it is essential to obey the government rules regarding Coronavirus – we mustn’t lose sight that the purpose of these rules is to prevent unnecessary social contact and prevent spread of the virus.

    Whilst there is no excuse for vast numbers of visitors to travel huge distances and flock to “local beauty spots”. There does perhaps need to be a sufficient number of “observers” – travelling alone to have access to grouse moors, so that what is taking place is sufficiently monitored to suppress any criminal activity?

    Hopefully the various raptor monitoring groups can get travel to the moors included in “essential” journeys?

    Have the police put in place a system so that individuals from these monitoring groups can apply for ” a pass” and not have the anxiety that their journey may be deemed “unnecessary” by over zealous police officers?

    Otherwise, the Coronavirus pandemic could have dire consequences,not only for humans, but also for some of our most vulnerable raptors such as Hen Harriers?

    • 4 Les Wallace
      March 27, 2020 at 11:32 am

      We are still supposed to be going outdoors for exercise so as long as there’s minimal risk of increasing social contact I can’t see any reason why people should stop going into the hills as long as they’re sensible, in fact it should be a lot safer than going to your local park. Prolonged physical inactivity causes severe health risks of its own, I’ve certainly put on even more weight since the lockdown when I needed to be losing it. It’s sickening, frustrating and maddening to think of what’s probably happening to everything from beavers, otters, pine marten to harriers, buzzards and kites right now with even fewer potential witnesses than usual to spot illegal activity.

      • 5 David Spiers
        March 27, 2020 at 7:09 pm

        I have been on 5 different moors this week , one a day , over 7 hours walking and watching just today , never saw a single person all week , surely if you can get access to a moor it makes sense to get up there & do your bit , providing your not interacting with anyone.

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