The Sovereign Base Area Police in Dhekelia dealt a significant blow to the illegal bird trapping community only days into the season after arresting a prolific trapper from Xylophagou on August 25.
The man, who has been wanted by officials for some time but has never been caught, was arrested in the early hours of the morning and found in possession of three mistnets and other items related to illegal trapping.
Officers at the scene were able to make the arrest after discovering the trapping site and to release seven wild birds before they were killed.
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Acting Superintendent Andreas Pitsillides said taking the man into custody sent out an early warning to all trappers ahead of the migratory season for protected Ampelopoulia, or Black Caps as they are commonly known.
He said: “This man is a prolific trapper and he has been one of our most wanted for many years, but we have never been able to make a successful arrest.
“He is part of hardcore element of trappers and this will send out a strong warning to all those involved in this illegal activity that you are never safe and we are ready to make arrests.”
This year, the SBA Police have bolstered the number of officers dedicated to combating bird trapping and, according to the acting superintendent, this will put even more pressure on those determined to snare birds in traps.
“We have increased our numbers again this year in our efforts to combat this problem,” he explained, elaborating: “We will have a dedicated team of nine police constables working around the clock in trapping areas to catch these people and they will be headed-up by a police inspector and two sergeants.
“We will also have a team of three investigating officers to follow-up on any arrests made, which will take our number of officers up to 15, which is only a little under 15% of our total force in Dhekelia, so that shows how seriously we are taking this situation.”
Within the first two days of this week, officers on the ground have been able to seize numerous more mistnets, bird imitating devices, cabling, wires, batteries and concrete bases used to hold the mistnets, and that pattern is set to continue over the coming weeks.
The man arrested has been released on cash bail and is set to appear before the SBA Court in Dhekelia in the near future to answer his charges.