Bedfordshire Police Nick Lyall tackling raptor persecution Image: Bedfordshire Police

Initiative aimed at protecting raptors from trapping and poisoning

A Bedfordshire Police officer with a passion for wildlife has launched a national website dedicated to cracking down on the persecution of birds of prey.

Superintendent Nick Lyall is the national lead for Operation Owl. This new initiative is aimed at protecting the birds, known as raptors, from trapping and poisoning.

A new website, operationowl.com, has been launched this week to raise awareness of the ongoing persecution of raptors and give advice to the public on how to report such criminality.

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act it is an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take wild birds.

Nevertheless birds of prey are still shot, poisoned and trapped. Especially in areas where land is managed for driven grouse shooting.

Superintendent Lyall said:

“Although this is a problem that affects the north of the country most typically, we have seen instances of birds of prey having been killed and mistreated in Bedfordshire and surrounding areas.

“Operation Owl focuses on bringing police forces up and down the country together with partners and the public to keep more birds in our skies.

“The purpose of this new website is to educate, inform and inspire people to get involved in tackling raptor persecution.”

Operation Owl is supported by the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the National Wildlife Crime Unit and local police forces in England and Wales. The national roll-out is based on a successful campaign run by the North Yorkshire Police Rural Taskforce.

Superintendent Lyall said:

“The public are our eyes and ears for this sort of crime, so it’s key that everyone is aware of this illegal and cruel activity and reports any suspicious behaviour or matters of concern, so that we can investigate and take action against those responsible.”

Visit operationowl.com/report for more information on reporting instances of raptor-related wildlife crime.