Derbyshire is an extensive county of breath taking natural beauty that not only boasts scenic views and the Peak District National Park but the range of land types provide a wealth of different habitats. This makes the county home to a diverse range of animal and plant species.
Animals that can be encountered include birds of prey such as Hen Harriers whose sky dancing mating ritual is a sight to behold, peregrine falcons, badgers, otters, water voles, and bats to name just a few. This rich natural history is a large part of the reason that the county of Derbyshire attracts ten million visitors a year.
Unfortunately, not all interactions with wild animals are positive, and it isn’t just people who are affected by crime; animals can be victims too.
There are many different types of wildlife crime but the majority of reported incidents involve people who are deliberately harming animals, disturbing or damaging nest sites and participating in the illegal trade of protected species.
Every year, police receive hundreds of calls from members of the public relating to wildlife offences. Some of these incidents have included swans being butchered for their meat, wild bird eggs being stolen from nests and the persecution of birds of prey in the Peak District.
Further examples of wildlife crimes reported in Derbyshire include people deliberately targeting badgers by digging or blocking access to setts and intentionally destroying a bat roost. All of these animals are protected by law and carrying out any of these acts is a criminal offence.
In this section, you'll find all you need to know about wildlife crime in Derbyshire, including:
Why wildlife crime needs to stop
There are many different pieces of legislation which offer protection to wildlife. Offences against wildlife is a crime like any other type of crime. It is serious and will be dealt with robustly by Derbyshire Constabulary as it threatens to drive rare plants and animals to extinction, can cause unnecessary suffering to animals and can cause disruption to local communities.
In addition, wildlife crime often has links to other types of criminality, including acquisitive crime and other more serious offending involving firearms and drugs. There are also links to organised crime groups.
As wildlife crime is a specialist area, Derbyshire police work closely with many partner organisations including the RSPCA, RSPB and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust to protect wild animals across the county and to bring to justice those responsible for wildlife crime.
Water Vole by Maggie Campbell/Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
Otter by Mark Hamblin/Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
Peregrine Falcon by Ian Bradley/DerbyshireWildlife Trust
NPAS Ripley (below)