Police in South Down have seized a barn owl.
Officers conducted a search of a property in Annalong after receiving information that a barn owl was being offered for sale through a social media site. The owl was seized by police during the search on Friday, 18 December.
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.
Enquiries into this incident are continuing.
PSNI Wildlife Officer, Emma Meredith said: “We would like to thank the public for their assistance and help in combating wildlife crime.
“When a report of suspected wildlife crime is made to us an investigating officer will investigate accordingly and if an offence is disclosed this will be reported to the public prosecution service. We work closely with partner agencies and on this occasion it included the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and bird experts.
“This is the fifth barn owl we have seized over the last few weeks and I would urge anyone who considers taking ownership of a bird of prey, particularly in the run up to Christmas, to ensure they check out the legislation and have the appropriate licences in place.”
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.