Report a wildlife crime

If you witness a suspected wildlife crime in action call 999 immediately. In all other instances call the non-emergency number 101 or use the online 101 reporting form

Or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

To report smuggling – call the Customs hotline on 0800 59 5000.

Managing wildlife on your land

Devon and Cornwall is made up of large areas of rural land where wildlife flourish. They are an important feature of our countryside but they can sometimes cause significant damage to farmland.

Where the population of a particular mammal species causes unacceptable damage, preventative measures such as fencing maybe the best option. However, in some circumstances where the law allows it, control may be necessary.

Some mammals have no specific legal protection and can be controlled by legal methods, but others are protected by law and cannot be trapped or killed without a licence from Natural England. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) also bans certain methods of killing or taking wild mammals except under licence.

However, Natural England has the power to grant licences in certain circumstances - to allow the killing, taking or disturbing of protected wild mammals, or to allow the use of prohibited methods of killing or taking. These circumstances include serious damage to livestock, crops or fisheries.

The gov.uk contains an extensive list of the different wild mammals and what steps you can take if they are damaging your land. 

These include:

  • Badgers
  • Rabbits, hares and grey squirrels
  • Mice, rats, moles and edible dormice
  • Wild deer
  • Wild boar
  • Otters
  • Non-native mammal species

Wildlife crime needs to stop:

  • It reduces the numbers of rare animals and plants, pushing them closer to extinction
  • It causes animals pain and suffering
  • It can be linked to other serious crimes, like drugs, money laundering and firearms offences

What is Wildlife Crime?

People buying, selling, harming or disturbing wild animals or plants that are
protected by law. Examples include:

  • Smuggling protected species and their parts (such as tortoises, ramin, ivory and caviar)
  • Illegally trading in endangered species
  • Poisoning of animals, such as birds of prey
  • Disturbing or killing wild birds; or taking their eggs
  • Poaching of game, venison and fish
  • Disturbing, injuring or killing bats, and damaging or obstructing their roosts
  • Taking protected plants from the countryside

People being cruel to animals

Examples include:

  • The illegal use of poisons, snares or explosives to kill or injure animals
  • Violence towards badgers, which includes being buried alive or being ripped apart by dogs.

In some special cases, killing or taking protected animals and plants is allowed, for example when someone has received a licence.

How you can help

Report it.

For your own safety, do not approach suspects yourself or touch anything at the scene.

If possible give information on:

  • What is happening
  • The exact location (a map reference or local landmark can be useful)
  • The date and time of the incident
  • Who is involved (e.g. number of people, clothing worn, tools being carried or any dogs)
  • The make, colour and registration number of any vehicle
  • If it is safe to do so take photos which may be used as evidence and remember to ask the police for an incident reference number and for a Wildlife Crimes Officer to be made aware.

Source: Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW)

The Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) brings together the Police, the , representatives of Government Departments and voluntary bodies, with an interest in combating wildlife crime.

PAW Secretariat

Zone 1/11
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Bristol BS1 6EB
T: 0117 372 8551

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