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If you witness a suspected wildlife crime, call 999 immediately and ask for the police.

If you suspect an animal has been poisoned or if you believe you have found a baited trap contact the government Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) on Freephone 0800 321600.

For all other enquires call 101. Or for accidents involving birds:  RSPB Wildlife Enquiries 01767 693690.

If possible, try to describe what exactly is happening and give as exact a location as possible.  This can be a map reference, notable landmark, date and time of the incident, who is involved, what they look like, what they wear etc.  If vehicles are involved, describe them too, including registration plates if you can see them. Take photos only if it is safe and ask the police for a reference number.

What you should not do:

For you own safety do not approach suspects or touch anything on the scene.

Do not attempt to remove live animals from traps.

Do not publish details of suspected crimes on social media as this may hinder an effective investigation.

Links for more info:

Wildlife disturbance

All wild birds on our coast, resident and visitors, their nests and eggs are protected by law under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Criminal offences against them are punishable by unlimited fines, up to 6 month of imprisonment or both. This also applies to their habitats, particularly Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs).  We are very lucky that our unique coast has many of these special areas. They include the Thames Estuary and Marshes, Benfleet and Southend Marshes, the Foulness Estuary, the Crouch and Roach Estuaries, the Dengie peninsula, the Blackwater and Colne Estuaries, Hamford Water and the Stour Estuary.  It is largely because of these protections and conservational efforts that we can enjoy those beautiful and unspoiled places.  So, while you are out there, walking, swimming, paddleboarding, kitesurfing please remember the birds and other wildlife and give them space.  If you witness anything that could be classified as a wildlife crime please report it to the relevant authorities. Please note that Bird Aware Essex does not have any enforcement powers. The list of steps we recommend and authorities to contact is provided above.

Definition of a wildlife crime:

A wildlife crime is described as someone trying to buy, sell, harm or disturb wild animals or plants that are protected by law. This could be killing or intentionally harming wild birds, disturbing them during nesting season, interfering with their nests or taking eggs.  Another common example is poisoning wild animals such as birds of prey or any other killing or culling without license. This includes poaching, snaring and hunting wild mammals with dogs. It is also an offence to intentionally or recklessly damage or obstruct a place of shelter of protected species such as bats, water voles and toads.