"Call 999 to report squirrel drownings" - police appeal

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: It is illegal to drown squirrels It is illegal to drown squirrels

ALLOTMENT holders who trap and drown squirrels are being targeted by police - and officers are urging people to call 999 if they witness them doing it.

Waltham Forest police are alarmed that some allotment holders have been advising their fellow gardeners that it is okay to drown the animals.

But drowning mammals is a criminal offence under the Wild Mammals Protection Act 1996 and carries a maximum penalty of a £5,000 fine or six months in prison.

Sgt Rowan Healey, borough wildlife crime officer, said: "There is clearly a misunderstanding here because anybody advising others to drown squirrels is encouraging them to break the law.

"There are organisations that can give advice on ways to discourage squirrels without harming them and it would be better if any allotment owners who are worried about squirrels consulted one of these groups instead.

"Similar legislation also protects the deliberate harming of foxes.

"The police, together with their partners the RSPCA, will take action against anybody in Waltham Forest found to be breaking the laws that protect our wildlife."

Sgt Healey has not revealed where in Waltham Forest allotment holders have received the advice.

It is not believed that any squirrels have been found drowned.

It is legal to kill squirrels humanely and it is not legal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to release squirrels, so anybody catching one is obliged to kill it, but without causing suffering to the animal.

Police are urging anybody with information about illegal harming of wildlife to contact Sgt healey on 8721 2649 or email rowan.healey@met.police.uk

Officers want people to call 999 if the public see it happening, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Comments (9)

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12:12pm Tue 7 Oct 08

Technomist says...

While I am pleased that we have an officer of the rank of Sergeant interested in looking after furry animals, it might be more re-assuring to know what efforts were being prioritsed to deal with violent criminals such as those who attacked staff at the Turkish shop at the bottom of the High Street recently.

There is also an armed robbery attempt at the Blackhorse Road tube station a couple of months back which people have not forgotten about, a shooting outside a community centre, a heist at a cake shop, and two armed raids on bookmakers prior to that being reported in today's Guardian. We still also see the organised gangs such as those who sell smuggled dvds and cigarettes in the High Street in Walthamstow operating with impunity.

We are often told by the police that resources are tight and that frivolous calls waste their time. Add to the above list of un-dealt-with issues corruption, thievery, shoplifting, the periodic outbreaks of inter-gang violence and general yobbishness in the borough and I think the police have a long way to go in making this a low crime area before 999 calls about squirrels should be very high on their list.

While I am pleased that we have an officer of the rank of Sergeant interested in looking after furry animals, it might be more re-assuring to know what efforts were being prioritsed to deal with violent criminals such as those who attacked staff at the Turkish shop at the bottom of the High Street recently. There is also an armed robbery attempt at the Blackhorse Road tube station a couple of months back which people have not forgotten about, a shooting outside a community centre, a heist at a cake shop, and two armed raids on bookmakers prior to that being reported in today's Guardian. We still also see the organised gangs such as those who sell smuggled dvds and cigarettes in the High Street in Walthamstow operating with impunity. We are often told by the police that resources are tight and that frivolous calls waste their time. Add to the above list of un-dealt-with issues corruption, thievery, shoplifting, the periodic outbreaks of inter-gang violence and general yobbishness in the borough and I think the police have a long way to go in making this a low crime area before 999 calls about squirrels should be very high on their list. Technomist
  • Score: 0

11:19pm Tue 7 Oct 08

Baffled says...

Is this a joke? The car park at Asda is swarming with crooks flogging moody DVDs, a fair proportion of whom might be of interest to the immigration authorities, the streets are choked with flytipping. There are drunks on every bit of street furniture, the pavements are alive with cyclists, prostitutes, pimps and deadbeats all over Harrow Green. Seemingly every third car is driven by someone with a 'phone clamped to their ear. And our local police are concerned with dead squirrels?

And Jesus Wept.
Is this a joke? The car park at Asda is swarming with crooks flogging moody DVDs, a fair proportion of whom might be of interest to the immigration authorities, the streets are choked with flytipping. There are drunks on every bit of street furniture, the pavements are alive with cyclists, prostitutes, pimps and deadbeats all over Harrow Green. Seemingly every third car is driven by someone with a 'phone clamped to their ear. And our local police are concerned with dead squirrels? And Jesus Wept. Baffled
  • Score: 0

2:13pm Wed 8 Oct 08

ez says...

Dear Baffled Its ok they will properly still have to have cctv footage and still wouldnt be able to arrest you like the gang at the international shop in the back of the market. Its a true case of people can get away with murder squirrel or no squirrel.
Dear Baffled Its ok they will properly still have to have cctv footage and still wouldnt be able to arrest you like the gang at the international shop in the back of the market. Its a true case of people can get away with murder squirrel or no squirrel. ez
  • Score: 0

3:37pm Wed 8 Oct 08

cantbelievewhatimreading@live.co.uk says...

Baffled, EZ please read...

Asda car park DVD sellers - I think you'll find that the same people day in day out sell these "moody" Dvds. Police normally arrest them then they are charged. Immigration authorities then are powerless to remove these people (if from outside the uk) due to these people not having a valid passport from there country of origin and due to our fantastic human rights laws.

Drunks on every street corner - What would you like police to do with regards to this. Police would normally arrest DRUNKS and issue an £80 fine. Will this get paid? I don't think so. Obviously the other method is to arrest drunks and put them in cells but I believe that on the borough of Waltham Forest we only have 15 cells, normally full without drunk people taking up the room.

Is the problem with the police or government?

People on mobile phones - I think you'll both find that police deal with this but again this is not good enough for us members of the public because police officers time should be used dealing with endless Domestic incidents, Assaults, Criminal Damage, Thefts, Robbery, Burglary or and last but not least MURDERS.

Squirrels - yes the borough does have a designated wildlife sgt. Do you really think that a dead squirrel really takes priority over a vicious and nasty attack on shop staff in High Street Walthamstow? I don't think so. These people will be caught but sometimes people just have to be patient, as police investigation can take time but is necessary in order to get a conviction.
Baffled, EZ please read... Asda car park DVD sellers - I think you'll find that the same people day in day out sell these "moody" Dvds. Police normally arrest them then they are charged. Immigration authorities then are powerless to remove these people (if from outside the uk) due to these people not having a valid passport from there country of origin and due to our fantastic human rights laws. Drunks on every street corner - What would you like police to do with regards to this. Police would normally arrest DRUNKS and issue an £80 fine. Will this get paid? I don't think so. Obviously the other method is to arrest drunks and put them in cells but I believe that on the borough of Waltham Forest we only have 15 cells, normally full without drunk people taking up the room. Is the problem with the police or government? People on mobile phones - I think you'll both find that police deal with this but again this is not good enough for us members of the public because police officers time should be used dealing with endless Domestic incidents, Assaults, Criminal Damage, Thefts, Robbery, Burglary or and last but not least MURDERS. Squirrels - yes the borough does have a designated wildlife sgt. Do you really think that a dead squirrel really takes priority over a vicious and nasty attack on shop staff in High Street Walthamstow? I don't think so. These people will be caught but sometimes people just have to be patient, as police investigation can take time but is necessary in order to get a conviction. cantbelievewhatimreading@live.co.uk
  • Score: 0

4:37pm Wed 8 Oct 08

Morris Hickey says...

The lunatics have taken over the running of the madhouse.
The lunatics have taken over the running of the madhouse. Morris Hickey
  • Score: 0

11:45am Thu 9 Oct 08

Walthamster says...

Got to speak up for the squirrels! Yes, like the rest of us, I hate to see organised crime operating openly in the High Street, and I know the friendly DVD-sellers are the front for murderous gangs.

But if we stop making any effort to prevent cruelty to animals, because it's not as bad as violence to humans, we're pretty much saying that it's acceptable. And that's the point where we might as well give up any claim to being civilised.

The countries with the worst records on treatment of animals tend to be those with the worst records on women's and human rights too. It's no coincidence. Tolerating cruelty at any level encourages it to spread.
Got to speak up for the squirrels! Yes, like the rest of us, I hate to see organised crime operating openly in the High Street, and I know the friendly DVD-sellers are the front for murderous gangs. But if we stop making any effort to prevent cruelty to animals, because it's not as bad as violence to humans, we're pretty much saying that it's acceptable. And that's the point where we might as well give up any claim to being civilised. The countries with the worst records on treatment of animals tend to be those with the worst records on women's and human rights too. It's no coincidence. Tolerating cruelty at any level encourages it to spread. Walthamster
  • Score: 0

4:34pm Thu 9 Oct 08

Technomist says...

The biggest threat to the squirrels seems to be the failure of most of the nut trees in the local area this year to produce fruit.

If squirrels are raiding allotments and gardens, it may be because there are not the alternatives there usually are. If people put a few nuts out for them, I hope this will help.
The biggest threat to the squirrels seems to be the failure of most of the nut trees in the local area this year to produce fruit. If squirrels are raiding allotments and gardens, it may be because there are not the alternatives there usually are. If people put a few nuts out for them, I hope this will help. Technomist
  • Score: 0

5:51pm Thu 9 Oct 08

Walthamster says...

Good idea, Technomist. That's constructive.
Good idea, Technomist. That's constructive. Walthamster
  • Score: 0

11:24am Fri 10 Oct 08

Baffled says...

cantbelievewhatimrea
ding - I'm sure you're famiiar with the 'Broken Windows' theory of law enforcement, which was so effective in New York. The authorities are doing a trial of it in Enfield at the moment. I'd be interested to see the outcome. The reason I bring this up is that the endless, low-level crime in this borough needs to be sorted as well as the 'big' stuff. I walked up Leytonstone high road behind a policeman last week, who did nothing about several pavement cyclists who passed us (a stern word would have done surely?) or the umpteen people swigging from cans of lager - the high road is part of alcohol enforcement zone, after all. As it happens the DVD sellers have been arrested in the past and given injunctions, which given the regular faces seen day after day the injunctions are being repeatedly broken. Not having a passport is no defence in law and no barrier to being put in prison.
cantbelievewhatimrea ding - I'm sure you're famiiar with the 'Broken Windows' theory of law enforcement, which was so effective in New York. The authorities are doing a trial of it in Enfield at the moment. I'd be interested to see the outcome. The reason I bring this up is that the endless, low-level crime in this borough needs to be sorted as well as the 'big' stuff. I walked up Leytonstone high road behind a policeman last week, who did nothing about several pavement cyclists who passed us (a stern word would have done surely?) or the umpteen people swigging from cans of lager - the high road is part of alcohol enforcement zone, after all. As it happens the DVD sellers have been arrested in the past and given injunctions, which given the regular faces seen day after day the injunctions are being repeatedly broken. Not having a passport is no defence in law and no barrier to being put in prison. Baffled
  • Score: 0
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