As part of efforts to fight bird trapping, British bases (SBA) authorities have removed illegal irrigation pipes used by trappers at the Cape Pyla range area, it was announced on Thursday.
The irrigation, which is laid by criminal trapping gangs, is used to promote the growth of acacia bushes which are purposely planted by the trappers and used to set mist nets to catch migrating birds.
According to a written statement, bases personnel destroyed up to 1,500 metres of illegal irrigation pipes over 11 acres of land.
SBA spokesman Sean Tully pointed out that the irrigation was not only removed to prevent illegal hunting but also for range safety reasons.
“These pipes are laid indiscriminately on the surface in areas where our soldiers are training with live weapons and we cannot afford to have trip hazards which could cause a serious accident,” he said. “We will not tolerate this abhorrent criminal activity and where we can, we will take action to prevent it happening,” Tully said.
The Bases are becoming ever-more resourceful in their fight against bird trapping and this latest operation enforces that commitment.
During the last migration season, bases police worked hand-in-hand with officers from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) from the UK to catch offenders in the act using hidden surveillance cameras.
This operation resulted in a string of prosecutions of individuals last month with fines between €820 and €2500 being handed down to more than 10 offenders.
In the same period, bases police accounted for 72 offenders being arrested or reported for prosecution for illegal bird hunting activity.
SBA Police Chief Constable, Chris Eyre said: “As we approach the new migration season our dedicated anti-bird hunting team will be on the ground, working tirelessly to deter and catch those who choose to break the law.”