Illegal Pole trap set next to a pheasant release pen in Devon being investigated by police and RSPB.

A reward for information is being offered after an illegal pole trap designed to kill birds of prey was found on farmland in East Devon . The RSPB and Devon and Cornwall Police are appealing for witnesses after the baited pole trap was discovered next to a pheasant release pen near Dunkeswell in the Blackdown Hills.

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The illegal pole trap set adjacent to a pheasant release pen photographed by police officers

Police officers went there following a tip-off. They photographed the trap, which was set and ready to use, but left it in situ.

When police returned the next day the trap had been removed. Further visits accompanied by the RSPB’s investigations unit have yielded no more information.

Pole traps have been outlawed for more than 100 years and work by smashing the bird’s legs when it lands on the trigger plate.

Mark Thomas, a senior investigations officer at the RSPB, said: “There is a reason why these traps have been illegal for so long. They are barbaric and they are designed to kill protected birds of prey.”

Inspector Martin Taylor, wildlife crime co-ordinator for Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “Despite it being illegal for over a century, we are still getting reports of spring traps being placed on poles or perches set to kill birds of prey.

“We will prosecute anyone setting these indiscriminate and lethal traps.”

Birds of prey habitually use posts as lookouts when hunting and in this case the trap had been baited using meat to encourage a bird to land.

The trap’s presence was reported on Thursday, August 11, and police first visited the following day. The RSPB is offering a reward of £1,000 for information that leads to a successful prosecution.

Anybody with information can contact Devon and Cornwall Police by phoning 101 or emailing 101@dc.police.uk, quoting crime reference CR/56051/16.

2 comments to Illegal Pole trap set next to a pheasant release pen in Devon being investigated by police and RSPB.

  • Albert Ross

    Spot the common denominator to find the leak!
    Has anybody questioned the landowner about what took place on his or her property?

    Editor’s Comment. We are sure that the police will have already done that. Who ever was responsible for setting the trap he was almost certainly and employee in overall charge of the release pens, otherwise he would have alerted the police and his employer that he had found the trap, but it seems he remained silent, instead he removed the trap; this in itself is significant. Should not be too difficult to identify this individual under the circumstances.

  • Albert Ross

    Acknowledged.
    Sadly a gremlin got into my post and deleted the Quote with the common denominator that I was referring to. Here is the quote again. (I hope)
    “”Police officers went there following a tip-off. They photographed the trap, which was set and ready to use, but left it in situ.
    When police returned the next day the trap had been removed.””