1 - What is a wildlife crime?
It makes sense to start with explaining what a wildlife crime is.
Wildlife crime comes in many forms, from destroying a small bat roost in your garage to fishing without a licence. Poisoning or killing birds of prey, sadly a particularly common crime in the north of our county, stealing bird eggs, badger baiting and setting traps. In fact there are behaviours which some people may do without knowing they are actually committing a wildlife crime, for example disturbing a bird nest, or keeping parts of a dead bird.
2 - Evidence
One of the missing parts of many cases is evidence of what the scene looked like before the crime took place. For example, if a badger sett has been disturbed, to prove that it has been damaged it is essential to have photographs of what the sett looked like prior to the crime.
3 - Never disturb a crime scene
Like any other crime, gathering up evidence from a crime scene needs to be done carefully and by a police officer. Not only are there many health risks in handling certain things such as poison or snares, but evidence needs to be preserved as well as possible to maximise forensic opportunities. Many crime scenes have been compromised by overenthusiastic, though well-meaning, individuals.
If the weather is likely to destroy a crime scene try and take measures to preserve it but without causing damage. For example place a tarpaulin over the site but make sure you take photographs of what it looks like before you do this.