Rural and Wildlife Crime

What is it?

Derbyshire’s vast natural landscape is home to a wealth of wildlife habitats and animal and plant species. This breath-taking beauty attracts thousands of visitors every year but it also appeals to the criminal fraternity who are intent on exploiting the county’s rare wildlife for financial gain. There are many laws in the UK to protect British wildlife but still people are determined to break the law for their own purposes. Here are the most common offences:

  • Badger baiting
  • Fish poaching
  • Raptor execution
  • Trade in endangered species
  • Bat persecution
  • Illegal poaching

Other wildlife crimes include:

  • Disturbing any nesting bird
  • Keeping a bird of prey without a licence
  • Stealing or collecting any wild birds eggs
  • Illegally trapping or snaring wild animals and birds

Anyone caught committing a wildlife offence could face a fine of up to £5,000 and six months’ in prison. Rural crime is any offence that specifically targets the rural economy such as those involving farms, agricultural buildings, farm vehicles, agricultural tools, fuel or livestock.

How do I report Rural and Wildlife Crime?

Local intelligence is vital in the fight against rural crime. If you see or suspect a crime, report it. Detailed descriptions of suspects, vehicles and registration plates are crucial to helping deliver justice. You can report rural crime to Derbyshire police on 101. Please ensure you ask the call operator for the incident number as this will be necessary to obtain updates. You can also report wildlife anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. In an emergency situation, you should always dial 999.

How can rural crime be prevented?

Farm Watch is Derbyshire Constabulary’s dedicated alert service aimed at preventing rural crime. The free scheme sends either a text, email or voicemail message about criminal activity and advice, tailored to a specific area, to anyone signed up to it. To sign up to the free service head to

National Wildlife Crime Unit

The primary focus of the National Wildlife Crime Unit is to help in the detection and prevention of wildlife crime by working in conjunction with a number of organisations including the police.