An operation tackling wildlife crime in the Borders led to a number of properties in the Longformacus area being searched and a number of items confiscated.
The ongoing operation, which initially took place on Monday, 5 June, is being led by Scottish Borders police, with support from the Scottish SPCA, RSPB Scotland and other organisations.
Police Scotland say tackling wildlife crimes "remains a priority", especially within "rural communities".
According to Police Scotland, the following should be adhered to if you ever witness wildlife crime:
If you suspect a wildlife crime is/has taken place do:
- Report any suspicious activity as soon as possible to Police Scotland on 101 or 999 and ask to speak to a Wildlife Crime Officer if one is available.
- Take a note of the date, time and weather conditions.
- If possible, identify a map reference or ideally a GPS reading of both the incident scene and location from where you witnessed the incident.
- Note a description of person/s involved including gender, age, height, clothing etc.
- Write down any vehicle registration numbers, make, model, and colour that may be involved.
- Identify other witnesses and obtain their name and contact details.
- If possible, video or photograph the scene, or make a rough sketch.
- Cover up any suspected poisoned baits or victims to prevent any animal / person coming into contact with them.
- Do report. Even if you are not sure - report the incident. The evidence of wildlife crime is not always obvious.
- Do not disturb the scene by moving items or walking about unnecessarily.
- Do not touch dead animals or birds, especially if you suspect that poison may have been used.
- Do not interfere with legal countryside practices such as the legal use of traps and snares, hides, high seats and shooting butts.
- Never approach suspects or intervene if you suspect someone is committing a wildlife crime – you may put yourself in danger.
A wildlife crime is "any act that is made illegal in Scotland under legislation with regard to certain birds, animals and plants including their habitats, both on land and at sea."
It includes the "illegal disturbance, destruction, theft and sale of animals and plants both in the countryside and urban areas, and includes the destruction of and damage to protected habitats."
Wildlife crime poses a significant harm to species targeted by criminals, as well as the communities who rely on the wildlife for employment and tourism.
Anyone with information regarding wildlife crime can contact Police Scotland on 101 or 999 if the crime is ongoing. Reports can be made anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
More information can be found on the Police Scotland website.