POLICE have warned residents to check for nesting birds when looking to cut back trees and hedges.

Officers in Cheshire Police's Rural Crime Team have received a number of reports on incidents where vegetation had been trimmed.

And while cutting trees and hedges is not illegal itself, there are a number of considerations people must take into account or they could be committing an offence.

A spokesman for the rural crime team said: "We are receiving a number of incidents in relation to hedge and tree cutting and nesting birds.

"It is not illegal to cut trees or hedges however there are certain considerations you should take in to account before doing so.

"You should check for tree preservation orders which you can find on your local council website.

"And check for nesting birds as all wild birds are protected. This includes their nests (whilst in use or being built) as well as any eggs the nest may contain.

"The main bird breeding season is recognised as being between March 1 and August 31 therefore the risk of committing an offence is increased between these dates.

"It is recommended that if you undertake any work within these dates you should check the hedge for any signs of breeding activity first."

Offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981:

1. intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird

2. intentionally damage, destroy or take the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built

3. intentionally destroy an egg of any wild bird

4. intentionally or recklessly disturb certain wild birds or their dependent young while they are nesting (including disturbance of nesting young)