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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 February, 2005, 12:33 GMT
New move to protect birds of prey
Red kite
Red kites will be among the birds protected
New powers to crack down on criminals who poison rare birds of prey have been outlined by ministers.

The Scottish Executive has given details of plans to make the possession of a range of specified pesticides an offence.

The law will come into force from 14 March when offenders will face fines and jail sentences.

The legislation will offer greater protection to birds such as the golden eagle, buzzard, red kite and sea eagle.

The provisions in the Possession of Pesticides (Scotland) Order 2005 - including fines of as much as 5,000 and jail sentences of up to six months - will protect not only wildlife but also potential victims of accidental poisoning such as children and domestic pets.

Deputy Environment Minister Lewis Macdonald said: "Banning the possession of these pesticides will further strengthen available powers to fight those committing these offences.

Aluminium phosphide
Sodium cyanide

"The eight ingredients have all been used in the recent past to kill wildlife. The executive is committed to protecting Scotland's natural heritage.

"As we have said before, wildlife crime is serious crime and I am delighted that the police and the courts are now armed with the means to ensure it is being dealt with effectively."

Wildlife enthusiasts welcomed the get-tough measures on poisons, such as cyanide and strychnine.

Spokesman Duncan Orr-Ewing, of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said: "The Scottish Executive has provided the police with a new and very effective tool in the constant fight against those who seem as determined as ever to destroy Scotland's precious birds of prey."

Dave Dick, RSPB Scotland's Senior Investigations Officer, has worked closely with police in the successful prosecution of numerous wildlife criminals across Scotland.

He added: "We would like to remind the public that these poisons are extremely dangerous to humans as well as wildlife. Enforcement of the law will now be easier in dealing with this crime.

"In recent years we have lost far too many of our rarest birds of prey such as red kites and golden eagles to totally unnecessary, indiscriminate use of such poisons."

Protection plea for birds of prey
02 Feb 05 |  Scotland
Gamekeeper fined for laying traps
28 Jan 05 |  Scotland
Rare bird on verge of extinction
05 Jan 05 |  Lancashire

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