Europe

Britain defends bird-trapping crackdown at Cyprus bases

  • Police Chief Constable Chris Eyre talks as he stands by confiscated mist nets at the British military police station inside the British military base in Dhekelia at the southeast part of the island of Cyprus, Monday, April 3, 2017.  The top law enforcement official for Britain's two military bases on Cyprus says a crackdown on illegal bird trapping inside the bases over the last year has resulted in a record number of arrests, prosecutions and the seizure of nets that trappers use in their lucrative trade. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

    Police Chief Constable Chris Eyre talks as he stands by confiscated mist nets at the British military police station inside the British military base in Dhekelia at the southeast part of the island of Cyprus, Monday, April 3, 2017. The top law enforcement official for Britain's two military bases on Cyprus says a crackdown on illegal bird trapping inside the bases over the last year has resulted in a record number of arrests, prosecutions and the seizure of nets that trappers use in their lucrative trade. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)  (The Associated Press)

  • Police officer adjust a confiscated mist net at the British military police station inside the British military base in Dhekelia in the southeast part of the island of Cyprus, Monday, April 3, 2017.  The top law enforcement official for Britain's two military bases on Cyprus says a crackdown on illegal bird trapping inside the bases over the last year has resulted in a record number of arrests, prosecutions and the seizure of nets that trappers use in their lucrative trade. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

    Police officer adjust a confiscated mist net at the British military police station inside the British military base in Dhekelia in the southeast part of the island of Cyprus, Monday, April 3, 2017. The top law enforcement official for Britain's two military bases on Cyprus says a crackdown on illegal bird trapping inside the bases over the last year has resulted in a record number of arrests, prosecutions and the seizure of nets that trappers use in their lucrative trade. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)  (The Associated Press)

  • Police Constable of the British military bases stand behind confiscated mist nets, at the British military police station inside the British military base in Dhekelia at the southeast part of the island of Cyprus, Monday, April 3, 2017.  The top law enforcement official for Britain's two military bases on Cyprus says a crackdown on illegal bird trapping inside the bases over the last year has resulted in a record number of arrests, prosecutions and the seizure of nets that trappers use in their lucrative trade. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

    Police Constable of the British military bases stand behind confiscated mist nets, at the British military police station inside the British military base in Dhekelia at the southeast part of the island of Cyprus, Monday, April 3, 2017. The top law enforcement official for Britain's two military bases on Cyprus says a crackdown on illegal bird trapping inside the bases over the last year has resulted in a record number of arrests, prosecutions and the seizure of nets that trappers use in their lucrative trade. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)  (The Associated Press)

The top law enforcement official for Britain's two military bases on Cyprus says a crackdown on illegal bird trapping inside the bases over the last year has resulted in a record number of arrests and prosecutions.

Police Chief Constable Chris Eyre pushed back Monday against criticism from conservationists that base authorities aren't doing enough to combat unauthorized trappers.

Eyre says some 78 court cases have been initiated and more than 1,000 nets have been seized in the last year by the team of a dozen officers who patrol a firing range that's notorious for trapping.

The trapping of small migratory birds — known locally as "ambelopoulia" — feeds a lucrative underground trade among some restaurants that serve them as a delicacy. Conservationists say the trade is the worth millions.