Winners announced in police wildlife story writing project

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The winners of the second section of the 2010/11 Tayside Police Wildlife Crime Project have been announced, with organisers delighted to report that the creative writing skills of the hundreds of young participants is as high as ever.

Following a mammoth marking task, Tayside Police wildlife crime officer Alan Stewart said the short stories – written by pupils from primary schools across the region – were both diverse and knowledgeable.

Previously the pupils had created an autumn nature diary before being set the task of imagining they were a police wildlife crime officer and writing their own investigation.

With an hour-long wildlife crime DVD (produced by Tayside Police for PAW Scotland) fresh in their minds, the junior sleuths scribed enquiries of their own.

Alan Stewart said: ‘‘These mini-investigations ranged from deer and salmon poaching, to poisoning and shooting birds of prey, finch trapping, harassing dolphins with jet-skis, and collecting the eggs of rare birds. The pupils regularly demonstrated their knowledge of crime investigation, utilising fingerprint and DNA evidence.

‘‘It is a delight to read these stories and see how much the youngsters have learned about the police role in combating wildlife crime. The detail in some of the stories highlights just how interested in the project the pupils are.

‘‘A special mention goes to one of our winners, Joe Carstairs of Viewlands Primary, who wrote a story that would do much credit to any crime writer. It was written in class at school and astonished the teacher as much as it did me.”

Constable Alan Bell, a divisional wildlife crime officer who works from Kirriemuir, judged the top stories and said: ‘‘This is the first time I have read the top 30 or so stories and I was amazed at how good they were. There was so little to choose between them and I had a difficult task picking the eventual winners.’’

The entries for third stage of the project, a drawing in colour of an animal, bird, plant, or insect found in the wild in Scotland, are beginning to arrive for marking. The project concludes with a wildlife law quiz, for which adult help at home is encouraged.

A prize-giving ceremony for the project takes place at on Thursday, May 5 at Battleby, Perth, courtesy of Scottish Natural Heritage.

Winning stories can be viewed on the wildlife crime page of the Tayside Police website at www.tayside.police.uk/wildlife

Angus winners of 2010/2011 short stories: A Day in the Life of a Police Wildlife Crime Officer: 1 - Jordan Doherty, P6, Letham, 2 – Maddie Owen, P6, Liff, 3 - Abigael Barrie, P6T, Lochside, 4 – Caitlin Hislop, P5, Northmuir