A Torbay police officer has joined an EU charity mission against illegal bird slaughter PC Josh Marshall will be giving up hours of his free time to help police in Cyprus tackling wildlife crime.

The gruesome practice sees tens of thousands of rare birds illegally trapped each year in a horrifying method and sold as a delicacy fetching exorbitant prices.

PC Marshall, a beat manager and wildlife crime officer, will be travelling to Cyprus for the charity mission called CABS (Committed Against Bird Slaughter), between April 27 and May 6.

The birds are illegally trapped as they migrate across Cyprus in the spring and again in the Autumn on their return.

The trappers use nets and other methods which trap over 100 different types of bird, some of them endangered species.

Although blackcaps and european robins are generally the intended targets of poachers, often rare protected migratory birds are inadvertently captured and then served.

“This is a shocking act to witness,” said PC Marshall. “If a bird gets caught, it often ends up hanging upside down and the only relief comes when the trapper comes along and slits its throat.”

According to BirdLife, close to half of the 380 bird species recorded in Cyprus have been caught at one time or another by mist nets or limesticks. They estimate that 75 per cent or more of all migrants birds landing in the worst affected areas of Cypress are caught and killed by poachers.

PC Marshall and other volunteers will work through the night and day to locate and demolish the traps and produce evidence to assist Cypriate police in their prosecutions.