YOU may normally associate police with catching criminals and keeping the streets safe.

But what about when bats, birds or badgers are the victims of crime?

That is the job of PC Debby Marshall, aged 49, wildlife officer at Cheshire Police, to investigate.

Based at Stockton Heath police station, PC Marshall said: “The public are really passionate about animals, and it’s my role to look at any crime relating to them.

“But I don’t think that enough people know you can report animal issues, or you can be prosecuted for them.

“I can look at any incident, decide whether to investigate and help anyone that wants advice.”

PC Marshall has been in the wildlife role for four months after finishing training in April.

A former veterinary nurse at Elliott’s Veterinary Centre on Knutsford Road, she joined Cheshire Police as a special constable.

Now a full-time member of the force, she also responds to general emergencies and works on normal investigations.

“As well as being a response officer I get to deal with animals too, so it’s the best of both worlds,” said PC Marshall.

“I’m still learning but this is something I’m really interested in.”

Current priorities in her wildlife role include badger sets being damaged and blocked up in Appleton and Victoria Park.

Poaching in the River Mersey is being investigated, along with bats being illegally removed from a house in Lymm.

PC Marshall also headed the investigation into the dog attack that saw a Staffordshire Bull Terrier tear the head off Pomeranian Elvis in Latchford.

But police are often unable to at in cases involving pets, she says.

“We don’t really look at dog on dog cases unless a dog is out of control in a public place, and is a danger to the public.

“A dog has to have attacked someone when it can’t have been an accident.

“With Elvis, the dog had forced it’s way through a gate and the owner couldn’t hold it.

“There is a line that has to be crossed.”

PC Marshall added that all dog attacks are recorded on a data base and can be checked in light of further incidents.

To report an animal crime call her on 101.