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Nesting birds disturbed by trespasser at Brading Marsh

We are urging members of the public to take extra care and caution when visiting open spaces and nature reserves on the Isle of Wight to ensure the protection of wildlife and nesting birds.

Last week we received a report of a man trespassing within a secure area at RSPB Brading Marshes nature reserve, having climbed over a gate which is fitted with barbed wire to prevent access.

Police were told that the man was accompanied by a dog off a lead, and the dog was disturbing nesting birds within the swamp habitat. This took place on the evening of Friday 6 May.

It was reported to police that the man was challenged by an RSPB volunteer, but the man simply responded to say he will do what he likes. 

This attitude is incredibly disappointing and poses a threat to our wildlife. This report has been passed to local officers who will be looking into the circumstances.

We have a close community of wildlife lovers on the Isle of Wight, and we ask everyone to please be responsible and to familiarise themselves with the law.

All birds, their nests and eggs are protected by law under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. 

It is an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb any wild bird listed on Schedule 1 while it is nest building, or at a nest containing eggs or young, or to disturb the dependent young of such a bird. Regardless of your intentions, if your actions are reckless then you are in breach of the law.

Details of Schedule 1 birds, and the other schedules relating to the treatment and protection of wild birds can be found here: https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/wildlife-and-the-law/wildlife-and-countryside-act/schedules/

Under the act it is also illegal to intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird, or intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built.

There are further clauses to the legislation that we encourage the public to mindful of, and you can read up on this here: https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/wildlife-and-the-law/wildlife-and-countryside-act/#:~:text=All%20birds%2C%20their%20nests%20and,in%20use%20or%20being%20built.

Contravention of the law could result in prosecution with a penalty of up to six months imprisonment, an unlimited fine, or both.

Please respect the law and respect our wildlife. If you are visiting a reserve with nesting birds present, please keep dogs on leads, stick to public footpaths and keep out of restricted areas.

If you witness any behaviour that puts wildlife at risk, you can report this to police on 101 and our dedicated Country Watch team will look into the circumstances.

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Jack Backwell
(Police, Corporate Communications Officer, Hampshire and Isle of Wight)

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