‘Old bill’ in owls swoop

Owls seized during a police search.
Owls seized during a police search.

Four barn owls have been seized following a police ‘swoop’ on a property in Lurgan.

Officers conducted the search after it was reported that Barn Owls were being held and sold on the internet.

Owls seized during a police search.

Owls seized during a police search.

The birds can only be held with a licence from the appropriate authorities and it is suspected in this case they were being held and sold without a licence.

A police spokesperson said: “The police service takes reports of wildlife crime seriously and view a report of a suspected wildlife crime like any other crime.

“When a report is made to PSNI an investigating officer will investigate accordingly and if an offence is disclosed this will be reported to the public prosecution service.

“PSNI work closely with partner agencies and on this occasion it included the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and bird experts.”

Police would encourage anyone with information on wildlife crime to report it on 101. Alternative you can contact the independent crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Barn Owls are legislated for under the Wildlife (NI) Order 1985 as amended by the Wildlife and Natural Environment Act (NI) 2011. To hold a Barn Owl you must apply for a licence from the appropriate authorities including the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. The four barn owls were seized due a suspicion that they were being held and sold without the appropriate licences.

Enquiries are continuing. The search was carried out on November 21 at an undisclosed location in Lurgan.