Man appeals after bat site is destroyed

Chesterfield magistrates court.
Chesterfield magistrates court.

A developer who was found to have destroyed the resting place of protected wild bats in Matlock after he forged ahead with plans for a residential site has appealed against his conviction.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard during a trial how Hargurdial Singh Rai, 55, of Birmingham-based ISAR Enterprises Ltd, went ahead with the redevelopment of former offices on Dale Road despite a survey which identified the site as a resting place for brown, long-eared bats.

Prosecuting solicitor Rod Chapman said the mischiefs were the destruction of the habitat of a species and the adverse effect on a community amenity and that the offender gained commercial advantage by avoiding costs and delays.

Mr Chapman explained the Conservation Trust calculated the cost if Rai had complied with regulations as £5,737. Ecologist Jeremy Truscott concluded the site was a roost and alerted police after noticing work had started. A wildlife crime officer and police attended and discovered the bat roost had been destroyed.

Rai, who denied the charge, claimed he had delegated decisions regarding building to others but Mr Chapman stressed these people maintained Rai was responsible.

Magistrates found Rai, of North Drive, Handsworth, Birmingham, and ISAR guilty of destroying the resting place of a protected species between March, 2011, and July, 2012. But on Monday, Derby Crown Court heard during a planned sentence and confiscation hearing how Rai was appealing the conviction which will be considered in September.