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Reward for info to catch marsh harrier egg thief is doubled to £2,000

PUBLISHED: 09:06 23 May 2015 | UPDATED: 09:06 23 May 2015

A marsh harrier. Photo: Mali Halls

A marsh harrier. Photo: Mali Halls

Archant

Conservationists have matched the £1,000 reward offered by the EDP to catch the thief who stole a marsh harrier's eggs.

That means the person supplying police with information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible could now collect £2,000.

Hawk and Owl Trust wardens found the nest near the River Wensum, at Guist, near Fakenham, had been raided on May 10.

Nigel Middleton, the trust’s conservation officer, said: “We’re appalled that this sort of crime has happened. This Victorian practice is still being carried out in the 21st century. It has a definite impact on all our breeding populations – it doesn’t matter if it’s a marsh harrier or a blackbird.”

The trust is also staging two one-day courses about wildlife crime in the visitor centre at its Sculthorpe Moor reserve, near Fakenham, on September 28 and 29.

Mr Middleton said they would be aimed at police officers, those involved in conservation and members of the public who wished to find out more and help combat crime.

“We just want people to be more aware of wildlife crime,” he said. “We’re concerned about it as an organisation.

“I’m concerned as a local lad about birds being shot, bluebells being dug up and birds of prey being persecuted.”

Police are appealing for anyone who saw a black Renault Clio on or near Guist Bridge during the evenings before May 10, to contact them. They say a man described as in his 50s and wearing a camouflage jacket was in the car, taking pictures with a long lens camera.

Marsh harriers are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

Anyone with information should call PC Jason Pegden on 101.

Do you have a story about wildlife crime? Email chris.bishop@archant.co.uk

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