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A Penrith man pleaded guilty yesterday (16th August 2012) at Carlisle Magistrates Court to the destruction of three bat roosts, which are a protected wildlife species. Thomas Dent, aged 48 years, from Penrith pleaded guilty to three offences brought under the Conservation of Habitats & Species Regulations 2010 and was fined £7,500 with £85 costs and £15 victim surcharge.
An investigation was launched in January 2012 by Wildlife & Environmental crime officers from Cumbria Constabulary after receiving a report that a building had been demolished at Barbary Plains, Edenhall, Penrith. The premises had only recently been purchased by Dent Company, a local haulage business, who’s CEO was Thomas Dent.
Despite a planning condition stipulating 'The development shall be implemented solely in accordance with the mitigation measures and compensation strategy contained within the submitted ecologist report, in order to safeguard wildlife interests', a building containing three roosts of the Brown Long Eared bat and Pipistrelle bat was demolished to accommodate a wagon washing facility.
All species of bats are a European Protected Species (EPS) which are species protected by law throughout the European Union with a maximum punishment of 2 years imprisonment and or a maximum fine of £5,000 for each offence.
Cumbria Police will continue to thoroughly investigate any reports of wildlife and environmental crime. If you have any information about a crime that impacts on our wildlife please call 101.