A passionate police officer says she is angry after a goose nesting in Hemel Hempstead’s Water Gardens was subjected to a vicious attack by a lady appearing to steal its eggs.
PC Jos Bartlett from the county’s rural operational support team is now asking for town centre shoppers to keep their eyes open for similar behaviour near the landmark, which is home to hordes of Canada geese.
PC Bartlett is investigating an incident today in which a woman, who had a young boy with her, was seen beating one of the birds with a long stick. According to the officer, the goose did not become aggressive but was drawn away from its nest, allowing the woman to take the eggs it was incubating.
A passer-by witnessed the crime and called 999, before shouting at the lady – described by PC Bartlett as being of ‘Oriental appearance’ – and telling her to replace the stolen eggs.
PC Bartlett said: “It is possible the lady was trying to take the eggs to eat, but it is a very odd time of year given it is nesting season. It could have been to eat the egg with a chick foetus inside, or it could be that she is an egg collector.
“Whatever the reason, it is a crime against the Wildlife and Countryside Act and all birds and eggs are protected.
“During nesting season, it is even an offence to do any work to bushes or hedges without checking whether birds will be affected.”
The officer explained there have been incidents in the past of swans having been disturbed, but very few reports of this nature.
She encouraged anyone who witnesses a crime like this in action to call 999, but that any information which could help the investigation should be reported using the non-emergency number 101.
PC Bartlett added: “We should all feel passionate about our wildlife and we have got to work together detect and prevent this kind of cruelty.”