Kirkliston wildlife officer gets special commendation

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A DETECTIVE Inspector from Kirkliston received a special commendation last week for outstanding efforts in tackling UK wildlife crime.

DI Brian Stuart is head of the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU), based in Livingston and he was presented with the award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

The NWCU was formed in August 2006 and Brian joined in July 2008. The multi-agency police-led unit works with interest groups handling trade in endangered species, reptile smuggling, illegal ivory, taxidermy and antiques, badger baiting, hunting with dogs, bird-related offences and dangerous wild animals.

Through DI Stuart’s guidance, the unit has become a key player in the international arena of tackling wildlife crime including working with IFAW in investigating illegal wildlife sales on the internet.

DI Stuart said: “This achievement recognises the excellent work of my team and the wider partnership that exists locally, nationally and internationally in fighting organised wildlife crime. Wildlife crime is truly local to global and requires a similar approach to deal with it.’’

Brian pioneered two global initiatives namely TRAM - an international operation co-ordinated by Interpol - targeting illegal trade in traditional medicines containing wildlife products, resulting in the seizure of thousands of illegal medicines worth more than 10 million Euros; and RAMP - a worldwide operation coordinated by Interpol against the illegal trade in reptiles and amphibians, resulting in the seizure of thousands of animals and over 25 million Euros.

David Strang, chief constable of Lothian and Borders police, added: “The work of the National Wildlife Crime Unit has impacted at a local, national, and international level in targeting wildlife offenders, and I hope this commendation will inspire his colleagues to continue the good work in the future.”

Brian, who also runs the local football team in Kirkliston, will leave his post on March 2 to go to Lothian and Borders Police.