Simon Newton Drone Footage 16/01/18

How British Forces Are Fighting To Stamp Out Cyprus' Illegal Bird Trade

Illegal bird trapping inside Cyprus’ British Sovereign Base Areas has been a problem for decades - but now there's a new weapon to target...

Simon Newton Drone Footage 16/01/18

Illegal bird trapping inside Cyprus’ British Sovereign Base Areas has been a problem for decades.

Over the years, authorities have tried a variety of methods to stamp it out – from police raids on suspected trappers to heavy fines.

But now they have a new weapon in the fight, and it’s bringing results.

Able to hover 500 metres above the ground, the force’s new drone can stay airborne for more than 25 minutes at a time, and has the ability to travel seven kilometres from its operator:


In the Eastern Base Areas, thousands of migratory birds are caught each year.

They’re trapped in fine mist nets and are later served as a local delicacy called ambelipoulia.

But now, thanks to this drone, the trappers have nowhere to hide - their illegal activities are caught on camera.

Sgt Andy Adamou, a drone operator, told us about the technology's potential: 

"The results are really good, and they're going to get even better.

"It's cost-effective and very efficient, and it can do the job in a police operation where we'd otherwise need a lot more people.

"The evidence we have is indisputable".

While they might be able to hide from officers on the ground, from the air there’s no escape as the trappers’ vehicles and faces are clearly visible.

Simon Newton Drone Footage 16/01/18
Birds are caught to be served as a local delicacy, called ambelipoulia.

The SBA Police purchased their drone just last August, but it’s already clocked up around 60 hours of operational service.

It’s not just being used to catch illegal bird trappers, however.

It’s also been used for surveillance work, and in several drugs operations.

Conservation groups estimate up to two million birds are trapped illegally in Cyprus a year, 900,000 of them within the SBA.

Since April last year these officers have seized more than 300 mist nets, and released a thousand captured birds.

Footage from this new drone is being used in several criminal prosecutions, and it’s hoped this eye in the sky will prove a powerful deterrent in the battle to stop this illegal trade.

Simon Newton Drone Footage 16/01/18