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POLL: Should the punishment be harsher for crimes against wildlife?

A youth aiming a slingshot at songbirds was among those caught by undercover officers as part of action to combat bird killings.

Nottinghamshire Police has received six reports of dead birds found by the public around Newark and Balderton, all of which had injuries consistent with catapults. The latest was an owl found at Sconce and Devon Park on Monday.

There was also concern youths were being abusive to members of the public.

Newark policing team set up an operation involving plain-clothed officers working with uniformed officers, the police quad bike and community protection officers from the district council, who conducted patrols and took part in targeted days of action.

During the first event, a teenager, 15, was spotted using a catapult on the Sustrans track, Catkin Way, Balderton, and was just about to fire it at some songbirds. He was detained and the catapult was seized. He will now be dealt with by the Youth Justice Service for a number of wildlife offences.

Three youths were also detained in the Blue Lake area of Barnbygate after plain-clothed officers witnessed them chasing ducks and geese and behaving anti-socially. They were all spoken with.

Simon Hill - Sconce and Devon Park ranger. (47808191)
Simon Hill - Sconce and Devon Park ranger. (47808191)

During further police activity, three youths, two aged 14 and one 15, were detained following a foot chase after officers received a report of nuisance behaviour in the Balderton Lake area. All were searched and catapults and ball bearings seized before being taken home to parents.

Another group was spoken with about wildlife concerns after being spotted acting suspiciously and then trying to outrun the police quadbike.

Patrolling community support officers also detained three youths who ran away from cops attending a report of men firing a catapult in Hawtonville. The Operation Reacher team was also in attendance and a number of ball bearings were seized.

You can read the full story here.

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