Tue 10 Dec, 2019

Currently the SSPCA cannot gather evidence to prosecute wildlife crime, even when they know about it. That’s ridiculous. Mark Ruskell

The SSPCA should be given more powers, after a pilot which saw special police officers patrol the Cairngorms national park for wildlife crime was branded “a complete disaster”.

Speaking at the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, Raptor Ecologist Dr Ruth Tingay pointed to the fact that the special officers failed to report a single wildlife crime, despite the fact white-tailed eagles and hen harriers have disappeared in the area during the period.

“The special constables have been a complete disaster,” she said.

Speaking afterwards, Scottish Green environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell said: “It’s very disappointing that this flagship scheme to tackle wildlife crime has had absolutely no impact whatsoever.

“Wildlife crime in Scotland continues to be a disgrace. Many raptors have disappeared in the Cairngorms. Increasing punishment isn’t enough, we need better systems in place to ensure these criminals get prosecuted.

“I have called for the SSPCA to have the power to investigate wildlife crime. Currently the service cannot gather evidence to prosecute wildlife crime, even when they know about it. That’s ridiculous. Their officers need to be empowered to help the police to catch perpetrators of wildlife crime, especially when so many of these crimes in Scotland never even reach court.”

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