Dorset Police officers to appear on Countryfile

12 May 2017
Dorset Police officers are set to feature on the BBC programme Countryfile on Sunday 14 May 2017 at 7pm.

Countryfile focuses on issues that impact on the rural community across Britain, with the next episode highlighting thefts of black-headed and Mediterranean gull eggs.

Countryfile presenter Tom Heap joined officers from the marine section on Thursday 27 April 2017 on a surveillance operation that was carried out on remote islands in the west of Poole harbour.

Dorset Police, the Environment Agency, the local charity Birds of Poole Harbour and presenter Tom Heap were out on the water patrolling the area for thieves and acting as a deterrent to any poachers who were considering heading out on to the islands.

The eggs of black-headed gulls are targeted by illegal poachers, who steal the eggs and then find a way to get them into legitimate supply chains. Although they are available to eat in some of the top restaurants in the country, the eggs must only be gathered by licensed collectors. The Mediterranean gull eggs which are on the islands in Poole harbour have not been tested for human consumption so should not be entering the food chain.

All wild birds, their nests and eggs are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and anyone caught trying to take a gull egg could be sentenced with up to six months imprisonment and handed fines of up to £5,000.

Police Constable Joel Brooks, of the marine section, said: “Appearing on Countryfile is a great opportunity to raise awareness of this under-reported crime.

“Having a marine section gives us the waterborne capability to patrol these hard to reach areas, meaning we can carry out night and day surveillance operations.

“We hope to put an end to this crime and allow the population of the vulnerable colony of gulls to flourish once more.”
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