Restorative justice used following tree felling incident which led to destruction of bird nest
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A man who unknowingly destroyed a bird of prey nest after cutting down trees has completed a successful restorative justice outcome.
Officers from Gloucestershire Constabulary’s Rural Crime Team were called to an estate on the outskirts of Gloucester on Saturday 5 June where it was reported that a tree had been felled causing an active Goshawk Nest to be destroyed.
The man, who is an agricultural labourer, was identified after admitting that he had felled the tree without checking for any bird’s nests.
He attended for a voluntary interview and was ordered to pay a £100 donation to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).
A condition was also put into place which allowed Glos Raptors Monitoring Group to access the site so that they can monitor the existing birds of prey, monitor active nests and put cameras up to protect bird of prey habitats.
PC Phil Mawdsley oversaw this saying: "Bird nesting season generally takes place from March to August, however can fall outside of this period and during this time you shouldn’t cut down trees or trim hedges without checking for the presence of birds and it is an offence under Section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 to disturb birds or damage their nests and unfortunately this happened after an act of recklessness.
"Advice around cutting hedges or trees at this time of year can be found here: https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/gardening-for-wildlife/plants-for-wildlife/garden-hedges/hedge-law/"
A spokesperson for the RSPB said: "It appears that this was the only tree in the wood to be felled and then completely removed at a time when it contained an active goshawk nest. Goshawk nests are huge structures and the contents of the nest would be equally obvious.
"Goshawks are rare breeding birds and have been subjected to regular persecution through the years, which sadly continues today. To intentionally damage or destroy the active nest of a goshawk, or any wild bird, is against the law. Raptor Persecution is a National Wildlife Crime priority, and the goshawk is a priority species."
More information on restorative justice in the county can be found at: www.restorativegloucestershire.co.uk/