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Scottish wildlife crimebuster wins award

News release by the WWF

2 October 2010

Today (Saturday 2 October), WWF will recognise the work of a wildlife champion, with the announcement of the winner of its Wildlife Law Enforcer of the Year Award.

This year's award winning officer, Police Constable Charles Everitt investigated 27 wildlife cases last year. Lothian and Borders Police Constable Everitt has been seconded to the NWCU for 18 months as the Scottish Investigative Support Officer, and has worked in wildlife law enforcement for nearly eight years.

Heather Sohl, Senior Species Policy Officer at WWF, said:

"Today's award shines a light on the good work being done by the NWCU. Constable Everitt has made a huge contribution to clamping down on wildlife crime in the UK. As part of an international operation that seized unlawful goods worth 10 million euro, he led inspections at Scottish traditional medicine shops for illegal products containing protected species. He also set up a project which ensured the first successful hatching of peregrine falcon chicks in 15 years at a site regularly targeted for chick theft, and investigated occurrences of deer poaching, hare coursing and unlicensed zoo animals."

Police Constable Charles Everitt said:

"I'm absolutely delighted to receive this award. I believe it justifies the amount time and effort I have put in trying to establish good joint working between the NWCU and Scottish police forces. It's great to see the work done by us all recognised by such an award. It shows that we are very much heading in the right direction in Scotland in our approach to wildlife crime and shows the value of working together with police forces and the NWCU, pooling together resources and intelligence in order to deliver effective enforcement action. Thank you to WWF for sponsoring this award."

DCC Iain MacLeod, ACPOS lead for Wildlife & Environmental Crime, said:

"I would like to congratulate PC Charles Everitt on receiving this prestigious award. PC Everitt has made a tremendous contribution to the fight against wildlife crime in Scotland. Over the last year he has shown enormous appetite and enthusiasm in his newly developed role embedded within the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit. This award recognises PC Everitt's endeavours in bringing to justice those involved in the most serious cases of wildlife crime in Scotland and the support he has provided to Scottish Police forces."

Ends

More information

To arrange an interview with Constable Everitt or a WWF spokesperson, please contact:

Lang Banks (WWF) on 01350 728200 or mobile 07771 818 677

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[1] The Wildlife Law Enforcer of the Year will be awarded at the Cheltenham Park Hotel, on the morning of Saturday 2 October 2010.

[2] Scottish Investigative Support Officer Charles Everitt has been involved in:

National Operations

Traditional Medicine/Operation Tram During autumn 2009, Scottish Investigative Support Officer (SISO) undertook an inspection of at least one traditional medicine shop in each force area. This was the very first time WCO's had set foot in such premises. Much intelligence was gained and new wholesalers identified for future operations.

As part of the global Operation Tram in February 2010, SISO led inspections of traditional medicine shops in Edinburgh, Glasgow & Aberdeen. 7 premises were inspected over 3 days and 6 premises were reported to the Procurator Fiscal for commercially using protected species. Globally, Operation Tram recovered unlawful stocks of protected species to the value of 10 million Euros.

Operation Lepus In autumn 2009, SISO organised and co-ordinated a hare coursing initiative covering 5 Forces over a 6 week period. This provided a co-ordinated, blanket Police coverage targeting coursers over several Force areas. 6 incidents of hare coursing were reported to the Procurator Fiscal and 1 case has already resulted in successful conviction.

Operation Moon SISO is currently leading a pan-Scotland initiative to check venison dealers in partnership with the Deer Commission. Checking the venison dealer's registers should reveal recording offences and provide intelligence on deer poaching. The operation is still on-going.

Force Level Investigations

Zoo Inspection Along with Animal Health Inspectors, SISO inspected a zoo in the central belt of Scotland and uncovered 24 protected animals being commercially displayed without appropriate certificates. The zoo was reported to the Procurator Fiscal who issued them with a Fiscal's warning.

Peregrine Watch SISO organised and co-ordinated a community peregrine-watch on a scrape near Edinburgh that had not been successful for 15 years due to chick theft. Volunteers watched the scrape around sunrise and sunset that are considered to be the vulnerable hours. As a result, 4 healthy chicks hatched and fledged. BBC's Landward and Out of Doors covered the story.

Ayrshire SSSI A mining company in Ayrshire dug beyond its consented boundary and into a SSSI. SISO assisted with the interview of the Company Directors. The company pled guilty and were fined £10,000 in July 2010.

Tayside Poisoning Following the recovery of a poisoned buzzard in the Tayside area, SISO assisted in the search of land and the recovery of poisoned bait. In the Spring 2010, the gamekeeper was successfully convicted and fined £400.

Animal Welfare SISO and partner agencies executed a warrant on a male in Southern Scotland suspected of using his dogs to hunt wildlife. He was reported to the Procurator Fiscal and found guilty of an animal welfare offence. He was fined £500 and forced to relinquish ownership of his dog.