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Man (21) and woman (22) arrested and charged with destruction of rare breeding bird nest in north-west Sutherland

By Ali Morrison

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Police have confirmed that a 21-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman have been arrested and charged in connection with the destruction of a large number of eggs from nesting sea birds in the Durness area on Tuesday, 17 May, 2022.

The pair have also been arrested and charged with the disturbance of a rare breeding bird.

A report has been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

Constable Daniel Sutherland, wildlife crime liaison officer, said: "The destruction of such a large number of nesting birds’ eggs at an established sea bird breeding site is extremely sad and disheartening.

"The disturbance of the corncrake, an extremely rare breeding bird, in the process is extremely frustrating knowing that this may hamper the successful breeding of such a rare bird.

"Police Scotland takes the unlawful disturbance of protected breeding birds seriously and all reports and information received regarding any possible disturbances will be investigated thoroughly and dealt with appropriately.

"Our wildlife officers work closely with partner agencies, including RSPB and the Cairngorms National Park Authority in relation to cases of unlawful bird disturbance.

"We rely on their expert assistance in cases such as these and extend our thanks to them for assisting our investigations."

The rare corncrake's eggs were destroyed in Durness. Photo: Graham Goodall (rspb-images.com)
The rare corncrake's eggs were destroyed in Durness. Photo: Graham Goodall (rspb-images.com)

Ian Thomson, RSPB Scotland’s head of investigations, said: "This incident is particularly depressing. Not only were numerous eggs of several species destroyed in what appeared to be an act of senseless destruction, but even more worryingly, a key site for one of Scotland’s rarest breeding birds will have suffered significant disturbance as a result.

"We are very concerned about the potential impact this could have on this year’s breeding season there."

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