POACHERS are trapping wild birds at a beauty spot and selling them on the black market for up to £100, according to police.
The Rural neighbourhood police team (NPT) has launched an investigation after reports that boxes and cages are being used to catch birds, mainly goldfinches, at Pugneys Country Park.
Once trapped the birds are then sold on the black market to buyers from around the UK.
PC Ashley Wood, of the Rural NPT, said: “The catching and selling of any wild birds is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
“The target birds are believed to be goldfinches. These can be sold for up to £100 per bird and are often attractive to potential buyers due to their striking colours and looks.
“This is big business for poachers for relatively easy work in their eyes.”
PC Wood has found evidence that ‘larsen’ style traps, which are metal or wooden cages with two compartments, are being used.
Inside one half the poachers put bird bait – another bird of the same species they wish to steal inside to attract others.
PC Wood said: “Other known methods are used such as spreading glue on branches causing the goldfinch to get stuck, making them easy pickings for the poachers.”
He urged walkers to look out for suspicious behaviour around Pugneys, on Asdale Road.
PC Wood is working with the RSPCA.
Insp Jo Taylor said: “We are monitoring the area because the have confirmed information that birds are being trapped and taken from Pugneys.
“Trapping birds causes them extreme stress and can harm them.
“I would urge anyone with information to call the police.”
Anyone with information should contact the Rural NPT call 101.
Alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111