Wild birds are now nesting – many have already laid eggs – and the national campaign to protect them is underway. Egg thieves will go to any lengths to raid the nests of rare species but Operation EASTER is determined to stop them in their tracks. Operation EASTER is a campaign which was developed in Scotland and is now facilitated by the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) in conjunction with UK Police Forces and partner agencies, including the Countryside Alliance. The operation targets egg thieves by sharing intelligence across the UK to encourage enforcement action. The taking of wild bird eggs is a serious crime yet it remains the pastime of some determined individuals. Whole clutches of birds’ eggs can be taken from some of the UK’s rarest birds with potentially devastating impacts. The eggs are stored in secret collections.
Chief Inspector Martin Sims, head of the NWCU, said: “The disturbance of nesting birds, or the taking of wild bird eggs or chicks, is a crime. We will do everything possible to assist the police to bring these criminals before the courts.”
If you have information on any wild bird’s egg thieves, or those who disturb rare nesting birds without a licence, you should contact your local or nearest police station by dialing 101 and ask to speak to a wildlife crime officer if possible. If you see anyone acting suspiciously around nesting birds, particularly those that nest in colonies. Information can also be passed in confidence to Crimestoppers via 0800 555 111.