Wildlife across the district has a new champion in the form of police Sgt Paul Howland.
Sgt Howland, a special constable, has been appointed Leicestershire Police’s new Force Wildlife Officer.
The jobs he will deal with can range from the use of illegal traps and pesticide or poisoning problems to offences on protected sites and endangered species.
Other crimes against wildlife which fall under his remit include deer and game poaching, badger baiting, egg collecting and the removal of wild plants from their natural habitat.
Laws surrounding animals and the countryside can be very complicated so many forces have a police officer dedicated entirely to the issue.
Inspector John Gray, who is the lead for the Force on Rural Crime, said: “Through Paul’s work we will continue to protect the environment and ensure the safety of animals and plants in the county.
“I believe it is important for this role to be fulfilled and for Paul to continue and build on the good work done and strong links gained by retired SPC Neil Hughes who was previously in this role.”
Sgt Howland joined Leicestershire Police in 2008 as a Special Constable, originally working in the Oadby and Wigston District.
He was promoted to Special Sergeant after two years and in 2011 moved to Harborough district to help with the Farm Watch scheme.
Sgt Howland, who enjoys walking, cycling and wildlife photography - specialising in owls and birds of prey - in his spare time, said: “I enjoyed my time at Oadby and Wigston but always wanted to move to a more rural location as I have a keen interest in rural crime. In 2011, I moved to the Market Harborough district to fulfil this desire and help with the Farm Watch scheme.
“I am looking forward to liaising and working with partner agencies and organisations to build some good relationships. I feel privileged to have been offered with this role and look forward to making some impact in this area of policing.”