Following the arrest of a man supplying baby rooks to The Taverners pub in Godshill, This in from Natural England, in their own words. Ed
A 45-year-old Isle of Wight man has been formally cautioned, after he illegally sold rooks which he had shot, for human consumption.
The man, from Ryde, was arrested in June on suspicion of committing offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, following a joint investigation by Hampshire Constabulary and Natural England.
Fledging rooks shot and sold
The investigation found that the man had shot a number of fledgling rooks, before illegally selling them to a meat wholesaler who in turn sold them on to a restaurant for human consumption.
Advice letters have since been sent to the meat wholesaler and restaurant owner who bought and sold the meat, requesting that they immediately cease sale.
Rooks protected under Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
Paul Cantwell, Natural England’s Species Enforcement Officer said: “Like all wild birds, rooks are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and their sale for human consumption – with the single exception of the wood pigeon – is illegal. While the control of rooks is allowed under some circumstances, the sale of wild birds is restricted because we would not want to encourage their killing, purely to supply a demand for human consumption and trade.”
Hampshire Constabulary Isle of Wight Safer Neighbourhoods Inspector Terry Clawson said: “Police treat allegations of wildlife crimes seriously with experienced specialist officers prepared to investigate where necessary. This case highlights the importance of police working closely with partner agencies in the rural community. Such co-operation is supported by the force’s Country Watch project, which reinforces links between different organisations with the expertise to tackle rural crimes.”
Natural England issue licenses
Natural England is the licensing authority in England on behalf of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in respect of wildlife licensing. This includes the issuing of General Licences to enable people to kill wild birds for certain purposes.
Rooks and other wild birds are protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981. The offence attracts a maximum penalty of £5000 and/or a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months per bird.