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Sunday, 19 May, 2002, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
SNP targets wildlife crime
Osprey
Osprey eggs were stolen from two Perthshire nests
Opposition politicians are trying to introduce tougher laws to tackle wildlife crime in Scotland.

The Scottish National Party is proposing an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill in an attempt to rush through legislation to deter criminals.

SNP environment spokesman Bruce Crawford said: "England already has comprehensive legislation on wildlife protection.

Bruce Crawford
Bruce Crawford is proposing the amendment
"But there is a huge gap in Scotland, which has become a honey pot for wildlife criminals.

"This gap in the legislation needs to be closed urgently."

Mr Crawford said the Scottish Executive had been promising new wildlife protection legislation for some time.

"Yet again it is a case of all talk and no action," he claimed.

"We've waited far too long for this legislation in Scotland and the SNP are not prepared to wait any longer and see our wildlife endangered.

"The SNP will take the lead to ensure that wildlife protection gets on to the statute books through the fast-track process."

The MSP added that the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in Scotland was backing his move.

Interested parties

Last week police warned that some egg collectors may be seeing Scotland as a "soft option" because they could not be jailed north of the border.

The fears were expressed after it emerged that thieves had taken all the eggs from two osprey nests in Perthshire.

The Scottish Executive said it had no immediate plans to change the law, although it has been consulting interested parties for the past year.

Eggs of rare birds found in Scotland, such as the white-tailed sea eagle, golden eagle, chough, osprey and Slavonian grebe, are highly prized by collectors.

See also:

13 May 02 | Scotland
Thieves raid osprey nests
04 Apr 02 | England
Bird-watching Big Brother style
29 Mar 02 | Scotland
Police uncover osprey eggs
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