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Open Country
Sat  6.10 - 6.35am
Thurs 1.30 - 2.00pm (rpt)
Local people making their corner of rural Britain unique
This week
Saturday 26 July
Repeated Thursday 31 July
Listen to this programme in full
Students, Glenisla Primary
When a crime is committed against an animal, it's the job of the Wild Life dectives to find the culprits. Helen Mark walks the beat with Scotland's first wild life cop, Alan Stewart.

For Stewart, being a wild life cop is as much about partnership as it is about crime busting.  For the last 15 years, he's forged links between the police and various groups across the area to foster better reporting of wild life crime.

First he takes Helen to Glenisla and it’s tiny primary school. Glenisla is one of several schools that take part in a competition created by Stewart. The contest includes drawings and even a short story. Glenisla’s students won most of the prizes in the county. Head teacher Janet Coyle invites Helen inside to meet some of the students. And you can look at the winning drawings here.

On to the next partnership and Helen gets down by the River Tay and meets the appropriately named Lee Fisher. Lee’s a water bailiff who patrols the river and its tributaries, looking for poachers. He works closely with Alan keeping an extra eye out for anything unusual happening on land or on the river banks.

Next, Alan takes Helen to meet veterinary pathologist David Gibson. Like the pathologists in TV programmes like “CSI” and “Waking the Dead”, David investigates suspicious deaths, only these are of animals. He and Alan chat with Helen about their latest case – the shooting of a family of oyster catchers.

Gamekeepers and wild life cops often have  a tense relationship. But Alan has helped to change that in Tayside. At the Invergeldie estate, he and game keeper Andy Rogerson are part of a pioneering project where estate managers regularlyy meet with police to talk about problems and ways to deal with raptors who somtimes pray on game birds.

Alan’s written a book about the experiences as a police officer called "Wildlife Detective”. 


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