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Dear Parrots magazine,

Stolen birds not taken seriously

In response to Eddy Lines letter published in the June issue, I wish to assure all of our readers that we at the National Theft Register take all parrot thefts most seriously.

As a senior police officer, I was formally trained by the CITES Secretariat-Geneva in relation to the relevant legislation and thereafter became a specialist advisor in this field. With respect to police officers, they rarely deal with such matters and are not usually conversant with the provisions of the CITES regulations.

This is where we come in, to steer them in the direction of the appropriate laws in relation to endangered species. It is fair to say that officers will investigate animal thefts, but are often hampered by the lack of positive identification of birds, which are very often stolen to order and go into a ‘black hole.’ The fact that they are at times stolen from insecure premises with little security, with no witnesses to the crime, doesn’t help.

Bird thefts do not sit too highly on the ladder of criminality until we have explained to the officers that there are a number of vital issues whenever parrots are stolen including the welfare of the poor creatures and the loss of future breeding programmes. With our assistance, one force recently carried out a highly successful investigation regarding parrot related thefts, resulting in substantial custodial sentences.

We regularly appeal on behalf of the police for the safe return of stolen birds and point out that if anyone attempts to trade any Annex A/Appendix 1 bird without the appropriate Article 10 licence, then most serious criminal offences are committed by both the vendor and the purchaser, which carries upwards of five year’s custodial sentence.

There have been times when the police have dealt with offenders, when there has been insufficient evidence to substantiate a charge of handling stolen property, and have reverted to this legislation when such CITES birds are found in their possession with the intention of selling them off. One major developing trend is the trade of animals through Internet web sites which does need regulating, as we have come across a number of recent scams, so advise caution to prospective buyers of parrots who choose this medium.

Finally I would say that all police forces have dedicated Wildlife Crime Officers who specialise in such offences, backed up by the UK Police Wildlife National Criminal Intelligence Unit. If anyone has any information regarding this aspect of crime, please call my office in the first instance and we will secure the appropriate police response.

John Hayward, National Theft Register – Exotics.
Tel: 01869 325699
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




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