Wildlife crime warning

Summertime is a time for upgrading or tidying our homes, garages, sheds and Gardens; retiling a roof, removing shrubs or building a patio whether it's a DIY project or employing contractors to do the work.

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This all sounds good but did you know that you may be committing a wildlife crime?

Wildlife crime is on the increase; cities are seeing more deer poaching, hare coursing, badger baiting and even fox hunting yet its probably unknowingly (innocently) happening in our homes and gardens.

Before starting any renovation or garden work, research what you want to do and when you want to start and finish job.

If it's during the spring or summer months consider the breeding habits of wildlife, if its winter, consider hibernating species like bats, hedgehogs and our ever important pollinators like bumble bees and butterflies.

If you are employing contractors make sure they are up to date with Building and Wildlife legislation. Almost all of Britain's Flora and Fauna is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

What is a wildlife crime? In simple terms it's when a wild animal or bird is injured, killed or taken from the wild and its home or habitat is knowingly interfered with, damaged or destroyed.

During the spring and summer months many animals and birds establish or return to their territories in the rooftops, garage eaves, under sheds and of course the garden.

Britain's Common Pipistrelle bats may hibernate in a loft during the winter with the females returning to their maternity roosts during the summer months.

Migrant birds like Swallows, Swifts and House Martens arrive from Africa to build their mud nests under eaves.

A little mess is created for a few weeks but it's worth it to have such bonny summer visitors. Don't try to remove nests as eggs or young birds will be getting reared, and you will be breaking the law.

Also try to consider our native garden birds like blackbirds, robins and dunnocks whose nesting season is usually March to August. It is an offence to cut down trees or hedges if it disturbs nesting birds. For more info, contact RSPB, www.rspb.org.uk.

Hobbies and general interest

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