Kent police appeal for info re: unlawful killing of tawny owl. Do you recognise these men?

Kent Police Appeal for Information (9th January 2023):

Unlawful killing of owl in Upchurch.

Kent Police’s Rural Task Force is investigating the suspected killing of a tawny owl in Upchurch.

The incident is believed to have happened in October 2022 and officers have recently come into possession of images of two men they would like to speak to.

Police Sergeant Darren Walshaw said: “We suspect an owl was killed using catapults and are now issuing photographs of two people who may be able to assist with our enquiries. Anybody who recognises one or both of them is urged to contact our appeal line.”

Anyone with information should call 01634 792209, quoting Rural Task Force reference 95-22. You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or complete the online form on the website.


7 thoughts on “Kent police appeal for info re: unlawful killing of tawny owl. Do you recognise these men?”

    1. Sadly, I read, a while ago now, that young boys were seen using catapults against water fowl on the waterways near to where I reside in Surrey.
      So it could well be. It needs criminalising immediately

  1. If the plethora of postings on social media are to be believed the “hunting slingshot” or “wrist rocket” has it’s followers who believe such devices are suitable for killing wildlife. Whilst there may be a few who are skilled enough and understand the law sufficiently to know what species can lawfully be shot and what can’t, it is the sort of device which will attract the idiot, who will only cause harm and suffering to nature.
    Unfortunately such devices are not covered by any specific legislation in the way that firearms or crossbows are, despite their potential risk of causing serious injury to humans, Whilst legislation covering offense weapons could be used by the police to deal with the possession and use of catapults, this probably wouldn’t cover instances when these devices are inappropriately used to harm nature if an individual claims the item is solely being used for vermin control. There needs to be much tighter legislation on the sale, possession and use of these high powered catapults, so that they are effectively treated like airguns and can’t be used by morons who put on a camo jacket and then go off into the woods to shoot wildlife.

    1. Agree completely, there’s definitely been a fad for catapults among lots of young poacher / rabbiting type lads these last few years and it is not a good thing at all. But I wonder if I have missed some legislation around crossbows? I don’t think there is anything in place (other than perhaps age limit) to hinder someone buying a powerful American eg “Barnett” brand crossbow probably designed to kill a grizzly bear. And where cruelty is concerned, there is nothing worse than a 12bore in the hands of an incompetent Gun who feels he can (or must try to match his fellows) take out driven pheasants and ducks at 50, 60, 70 yards. When the big day of legislative reckoning does finally come under some future government, the methods of killing need to examined and legislated for. Example – a Gun should be proven competent to take on a given quarry / given style of shooting, and have knowledge of the cartridge loads and muzzle chokes that situations demand. By contrast, in deerstalking, the keeper/stalker will observe the clients ability to shoot prior to the stalk, so he knows what the client can / cannot be relied on to shoot humanely. In driven (bird) shooting at the moment it is just “if you can pay, you can blast away”. Not that it matters, but this is actually something that is quite demoralising for many keepers too – those of them that take pride in raising and “presenting good birds”.

      1. A very valid point.

        In relation to shooting quarry the BASC Code of good shooting practice clearly states the following:

        • Guns should aim to take shooting to match their skills and capabilities.
        • Guns must ensure they know and recognise the intended quarry species and comply with relevant lead shot regulations.
        • Guns must be competent at estimating range and shoot within the limitations of their equipment to kill cleanly and consistently.
        • Inexperienced Guns should improve personal shooting skills through practice on clay targets and must be accompanied and supervised by a suitably experienced person.

        Yet I often wonder just how many shooters actually adhere to this code, when human nature is often to test ones skills and take on the difficult shot, often leaving the quarry injured or maimed rather than cleanly killed. The number of illegally killed raptors when examined which show evidence of previous gunshot wounds clearly shows that there are some individuals out there who not only engage in criminal activity but are also incompetent in their shooting skills.

        I have long believed that shotgun or firearms licence holders should undertake a competency test to ensure they have the necessary skills to safely handle firearms and shoot accurately. This could be done at the time of initial application and periodically when the shotgun or firearms licence is renewed. Possession of a firearm should never be a “right” and only a “privilege”, and those without the necessary skills should never be permitted to possess or shoot one. Initial skills could be obtained by joining a local gun club or undertaking appropriate firearms training from an approved provider.

        The Crossbow Act 1987 covers the sale and possession of crossbows, and gives the police specific powers in relation to powers of search and seizure, which hopefully restricts such weapons being used by those under the age of 18, unless supervised by someone over the age of 21. By definition a crossbow will always be an offensive weapon, and so its possession in a public place without reasonable excuse is an offence. It is for a defendant to prove that they had a reasonable excuse for possessing such a weapon in a public place.

        It is a total absurdity that there has been a massive decline in nature in the UK, yet parliament does not consider it necessary to restrict the killing of wildlife by passing legislation to restrict hunting and shooting so that only those capable of shooting lawfully, accurately and without causing unnecessary suffering are able to go out and engage in such activities.

  2. should be easy to identify this [Ed: rest of comment deleted as libellous. Please remember this investigation is still ongoing and nobody has been charged / convicted]

  3. I’m sure the execrable Fieldsports channel has had features on ‘hunting’ using these horrendous catapults, worse than airguns IMHO because it’s obvious if you’re carrying one, not so one of these deadly catapults. Either it’s lessened since my childhood or it’s become less overt, but there’s still far too much casual violence against wildlife going on clearly.

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