The Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) is a small charity, and our Wildlife Crime Project is in extremely high demand with a need to prioritise cases. Therefore, the project cannot get involved in every report of wildlife crime because we simply do not have the capacity.
However, if you have empirical evidence such as bat survey reports or video footage/images to corroborate an offence allegation such as destruction of a roost, obstruction of a roost or disturbance to bats, then such matters fall to the police to investigate.
The Wildlife Crime Project will assist police officers investigating allegations of offences against bats. Please read and follow the guidance below, so the project is made aware of any reports made to the police.
How to report a bat offence to the police and the Wildlife Crime Project
- Contact your local police constabulary via 101 or their webpage.
- Explain that you think a wildlife crime has been, or is being, committed.
- If you have evidence (e.g. bat survey reports, video footage or images) offer them to the police.
- Ask for the Police Incident or Occurrence Number and details of their Police Wildlife Crime Officer.
- Send the BCT your Police Incident or Occurrence Number and the name of the Police Wildlife Crime Officer dealing with your case via our Helpline 0345 1300 228 or email email@example.com
- The BCT’s Wildlife Crime Project will then contact the police and offer support and confirm with you that this has been done.
Please be aware that once the Wildlife Crime Project is supporting a police investigation that you have reported, the project cannot update you on its progress. It is for you as the reporting person to seek updates from the police officer in the case, known as the OIC (Officer in Charge ).
Actions by the project must not hinder or frustrate the work of the police, other agencies, or prosecutors.
How to make an anonymous report
If you want to report a bat offence but wish to remain anonymous, then you must call Crime Stoppers. You can call them on 0800 555 111 or use their 5-minute Anonymous Online Form. We cannot accept anonymous offence reports.
What to do about planning concerns
If you have concerns regarding local developments, works or planning applications but are not reporting an offence against bats we unfortunately do not have the resources to get involved.
However, we have compiled comprehensive guidance to assist you in taking the appropriate action to protect bats. Please visit our development concerns page to download the planning and development advice pack.
Bats and the law
In Britain, all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and European legislation. This means that under Regulation 43 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended) you may be committing a criminal offence if you:
- Deliberately capture, injure, or kill a bat.
- Deliberately disturb a bat.
- Damage or destroy a breeding site or resting place of a bat.
- Possess or control a bat.
- Transport a bat.
- Sell or exchange a bat.
- Offer for sale or exchange any bat, alive or dead, or any part of a bat.
Also, under Section 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), you may be committing a criminal offence against bats if you:
- Intentionally or recklessly disturb a bat occupying a structure or place used for shelter or protection.
- Intentionally or recklessly obstruct access to any structure or place used for shelter or protection by bats.
Please note that the Wildlife and Countryside Act is not applicable in Scotland.