Britain defends bird-trapping crackdown at Cyprus bases

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.