Nathan LEWIS of Itton, Monmouthshire appeared before Newport Magistrates court today 10th March 2023 to answer a charge of damaging or destroying a breeding site or resting place of European protected species, Dormice, Slow Worms, Grass Snakes, Bats, Great Crested Newts and Badgers at the former MOD Training Centre in Caerwent. LEWIS pleaded guilty following a successful collaboration between Gwent Police, the Monmouthshire County Council Biodiversity Team and Natural Resources Wales.
In January 2023, LEWIS excavated the site using plant machinery without planning permission and without Licences from Natural Resources Wales. He was in possession of a detailed ecological survey report commissioned recently as part of his development ambition but chose to ignore the report. The site over 10 acres contained a number of European protected species and rare flora and fauna. LEWIS damaged and destroyed habitat amounting to 3 acres.
After pleading guilty in court, the Magistrates ordered LEWIS to pay £1,760 in fines and costs.
This site at the former MOD Training Centre off the A48 in Caerwent will be the subject of planning for the development of new homes. However, now the Developers will understand the need to carry out their planned construction following strict guidelines within European Protected Species Licences provided by the Natural Resources Wales Species Team.
PC Mark Powell said: “Police forces across Wales are successfully working with Natural Resources Wales, Local Authority Biodiversity Teams and the National Wildlife Crime Unit to investigate and prosecute those responsible for committing wildlife and rural crime offences. Partnership working has never been so productive. It’s so important to preserve already dwindling protected native species such as Dormice and other important and endangered species such as bats, Slow Worms and Grass Snakes. This case is most disturbing due to the fact that the dormice were hibernating in situ at the time and would have had no means of escape. We welcome sentences of this magnitude which I believe will go a long way to deter others from committing future offences.”