16th July 2013

Officers from St. Andrews are conducting an investigation after the discovery of the bodies 12 pipistrelles which were found at the foot of a tree on the Eden Estuary at Guardbridge near to the former Guardbridge Paper Mill.

PC Susan Martin who is conducting the investigation has appealed for help from the public in determining how the bats died on or around 28th June when schools closed for the summer break. She stated "we can't determine if children have discovered the bat roost and interfered with it or if someone in the area has found them in their home and decided to dispose of them. Our minds are open to any scenario. What we can confirm is that the carcases have been subjected to post mortem examination at a laboratory in Cumbria and that would indicate that the animals have undergone some significant trauma at the time of their deaths. Myself, the divisional wildlife crime co-ordinator, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Bat Conservation Trust are conducting a joint investigation and are anxious to speak to anyone who may be able to assist with our enquiries. We would urge anyone with any information to telephone us on 101."

Pete Charleston Investigations Officer for Bat Conservation Trust said "Bat roosts are incredibly important sites for conservation. At this time of year bats are at their most sensitive, mother bats will be raising their young in maternity roosts. If a mother bat is killed, then their baby will die too as a baby bat depends on its mother for milk. It is very important for bat conservation that bat roosts are not disturbed."