28th January 2020

On Tuesday 19th November 2019 two men appeared before Chesterfield Magistrates Court where they pleaded guilty to a charge of damaging or destroying a bat roost. Both pleaded guilty and were conditionally discharged. A conditional discharge is not a criminal conviction. On the 21st November, Amy Woodfield from the BBC Ashford local news reported on the case (see below).

There are aspects of this case that are troubling to BCT. We have however had to delay reporting on it pending receipt of legal advice. We are concerned that conditional discharges are considered to be an appropriate way of dealing with any offence of bat crime but we are not able to detail our concerns in the public arena. We have and will continue to raise our concerns in an appropriate manner. BCT would however like to thank witnesses and Derbyshire Police for their work in investigating this case. In particular the investigating officer PC Paul Gamble who undertook his first investigation into bat crime in a thorough and professional manner.

15:56 21 Nov 2019

Men prosecuted over bat house demolition

Two men have been prosecuted for demolishing a bungalow where Pipistrelle bats had been identified.

Mark Brown, 56, of Belland Land, Ashover and Chris Richard, 50, of Plumptre Road, Heanor appeared at Chesterfield Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.

They originally pleaded not guilty to an offence of damaging a breeding or resting place of a wild animal but changed their plea to guilty.

They were both sentenced to a 12-month conditional discharge and were ordered to pay £300 in costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

In 2018 an application was submitted to demolish the bungalow on Amber Lane, Ashover, and build a new house in its place.

An ecologist survey identified the bats in the building and the applicant was told measures to protect them would be required before the demolition work could start.

The developer went on to commission a second survey, which found no signs of bats, therefore demolition went ahead.

Sgt James Shirley, of the Derbyshire Police Rural Crime Team, said: "Bats are a protected species and Derbyshire RCT have the responsibility of taking actions on all infringements of wildlife crime."

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