POLICE have dropped an investigation into the ground clearance of a site in Highcliffe with no further action being taken.

Officers from Christchurch Neighbourhood Policing Team concluded there was not sufficient evidence that a wildlife crime had taken place on the land off Jesmond Wood.

Dorset Police was contacted on the afternoon of June 25 stating that a landowner had cleared what was believed to be protected land.

A force spokeswoman said: “An investigation was carried out by a wildlife crime officer based on the local Neighbourhood Policing Team, which involved liaison with colleagues from the Force’s Rural Crime Team, the National Wildlife Crime Unit, BCP Council and an ecologist.

“Following a review of the evidence and assessing the ecologist’s report, a decision has been made by the Force that no further police action will be taken.

“It has been found that at this time there is not sufficient evidence that a wildlife crime occurred, including disturbance or destruction of a set/nest and proof that the set/nest was active at the time of the destruction.

“If further information is received in relation to this report, this will be investigated.

“Any reported breaches of a tree preservation order (TPO) are a matter for BCP Council to investigate.”

Dorset Police previously said the matter was being investigated by the rural crime team. It has since been confirmed that this was not correct.

As reported, BCP Council officers found there were no planning breaches over what took place on the site last month and no trees subject to tree preservation orders had been brought down.

Landowner and developer Chris Bulstrode previously told the Daily Echo he instructed contractors to clear the ground as this was needed to allow his firm to meet the request of BCP Council’s planning department to peg out some of the proposed houses on the site.

Cllr Bobbie Dove, portfolio holder for regulatory services, said she was very disappointed to see the extent of the clearance undertaken.

She said the planning department “never asked for, suggested, or endorsed any clearance” on the site.

Mr Bulstrode’s Brentland Ltd has submitted plans to build 17 houses with a new vehicular access on the site.

The application is still being assessed by the council’s planning department.