- If you witness a suspected wildlife crime in action call 999 immediately
- In all other instances, call 101 for the non-emergency service and ask to speak to your local Wildlife Crime Officer
- To remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111
Try to provide as much information as possible, including:
- What is happening
- The exact location (a map reference or local landmark can be useful)
- The date and time of the incident
- Who is involved (e.g. number of people, clothing worn, tools being carried or any dogs)
- The make, colour and registration number of any vehicle
- If it is safe to do so, take photos which may be used as evidence
- For your own safety, do not approach suspects yourself or touch anything at the scene
- Remember to ask the police for an incident reference number
Sussex Police has a number of Wildlife and Rural Crime Officers (WRCOs) working across Sussex, all of whom perform the role alongside their day-to-day policing duties. They are supported by a dedicated Wildlife Crime and Rural Affairs operational lead, Sergeant Tom Carter (@SgtTomCarter) and a strategic lead, Superintendent Emma Brice.
What is wildlife crime?
In general, a wildlife crime is any action which contravenes current legislation governing the protection of the UK’s wild animals and plants. The penalty can be an unlimited fine, up to six months in prison, or both.
Examples of wildlife crime include poisoning of wild animals or birds; disturbing or killing wild birds or taking their eggs; poaching; disturbing, killing or injuring bats; illegal use of poisons or snares; violence towards badgers.
The law on wildlife and wild places is very complex and operates at national and European levels. Some of this legislation is provided below but this is only a broad summary and may be incomplete in places. You will need to obtain qualified legal advice if you are seeking to avoid prosecution or intending to bring a prosecution.