6th May 2009

In 2001 the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) embarked on a project to collect data on crimes against bats in the UK.

The information gathered shows that, despite legal protection, crimes against bats are still occurring at an alarming rate. Building development and maintenance accounts for two thirds of bat crime incidents, with three quarters of reported incidents taking place at bat roosts. The results of this project has led to bats being added to the police wildlife crime priority list in 2004 and the conservation of bats and offences against them is now a priority of the Partnership Against Wildlife Crime for 2009.

Dr Kate Barlow, Investigations Officer at BCT said: "In the UK, all bats and their roosts are protected by law, a fact not a lot of people are not aware of. Our team is currently working with a number of police forces and industry professionals across the UK, ensuring that those who come into contact with bats as part of their work are aware of the law and their obligations. We also play a key role in assisting the police in their investigations and providing advice on what to do if a suspected bat crime has occurred or is likely to occur.

"This is such an important topic as bats play a significant part in the natural environment and we hope that this data, together with our work, will go some way towards reducing the incidents of bat crime in the UK."