Police have increased patrols in the Upper Lough Erne area of Fermanagh following disturbances to ground nesting birds by dogs, and are urging members of the public with any information on the issue to make a report.

A PSNI spokesperson said: "Police take all wildlife crime extremely seriously and are committed to equipping our officers with the skills, knowledge, support and guidance to appropriately deal with and investigate all instances of wildlife crime which are reported to police.

"We work extensively with a number of partner organisations to address the issue of disturbance to ground nesting birds on an ongoing basis, and our officers can investigate and if required, seek the advice, support and assistance from the PSNI wildlife office.

The PSNI spokesperson outlined that at present, police are seeing concerns of disturbance to ground nesting birds in Fermanagh, and in particular the Inishmore-Lusty Beg area of Upper Lough Erne, including the trespassing of dogs on private land, with evidence of suspected criminal damage to fencing.

"Partners met recently to discuss said issue and local police are continuing to monitor these incidents with increased patrols in the area," said the PSNI spokesperson, adding: "Police urge anyone with information relating to disturbance of ground nesting birds, to report this on 101, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Please be assured, we will continue our efforts in tackling wildlife crime across Northern Ireland."

A spokesperson from RSPB NI said: “Ground nesting waders such as the curlew are extremely sensitive to disturbance on their breeding territories, particularly during the critical early Spring pre-nesting phase. These iconic birds already face multiple threats to their survival without the additional pressure caused by human intrusion. Repeated disturbance at this time of year, especially where dogs are involved, will inevitably result in birds abandoning their breeding territories. We would therefore urge landowners or members of the public who witness anyone with dogs entering private land around Upper Lough Erne to report it to the relevant authorities.”

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