UK Bases arrests for bird trapping, poaching

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A Greek Cypriot man from Xylophagou faces fines of up to €6,000 following his arrest for possessing active mistnets and protected Ambelopoulia (black caps) stored frozen in his home refrigerator.

Sovereign Base Area Police anti-trapping officers swooped on the man’s property during an early morning operation and seized two mistnets measuring six metres by three metres whilst releasing snared birds before they were killed.

During a search of the man’s house, which was located on the same land as the mistnets, officers discovered the refrigerator with 23 black caps and thrushes.

On the morning of Tuesday’s arrest, Superintendent Panicos Panayi explained the potential punishment for this type of crime.

“We as a police force operate a zero-tolerance approach to mist netting, and as such, the fines for undertaking this crime reflect the seriousness.

“The fines have increased enormously, and in this case, the man can be fined €2,000 for possession of nets and a further €500 for every additional net.

“On top of that, there is also the potential for a fine of €2,000 for possession of black caps and a further €100 for every bird, so we hope these heavy fines represent a strong deterrent for those considering bird trapping.”

In an earlier operation on August 31, the superintendent confirmed a Greek Cypriot man from Achna Forest had also been arrested for suspected poaching offences and possession of a firearm and live cartridges in his vehicle.

Following police intelligence gathered on the man, officers could locate the individual’s vehicle and secure a search warrant for his home, where a refrigerator containing 100 wood pigeons, four hares and ducks was frozen inside.

Superintendent Panayi said: “Hunting is only permitted during the correct times of the season, and this man was arrested after being discovered with a firearm in his car outside the hunting window, and this is an offence.

“Our house search subsequently uncovered the birds frozen inside a fridge, so he will also be charged with poaching offences.

“This once again highlights the efforts our officers are making to combat the issue of poaching and illegal bird trapping, and we will continue with these efforts, and there will be no let-up.”

Since the launch of the SBA Police’s dedicated Community Action team in 2016, bird trapping numbers have been reduced by almost 100%.

Both men will appear in court in the coming days charged with the relevant offences.