My Books

Walking with Wildlife: a year on a Scottish estate (Thirsty Books, Edinburgh, 2019. £15) Available from early November 2019.

Alan Stewart has a long association with the 13,000 acre Dupplin Estate in Perthshire, as a schoolboy, as a farm worker and as a rabbit controller. Over the course of a year, he revisits and walks over the whole estate to observe and record what changes there have been in farming practice, the environment and wildlife in the intervening years since his youth. His written record is a culmination of a lifetime’s knowledge of wildlife and the country environment. He takes the reader to share the many magical and precious moments during his many walks. He describes a goshawk teaching her young to hunt, whooper swans arriving from Iceland, red squirrels stocking up for winter and a goosander with her newly-hatched brood. Brown hares and deer feature on many of the walks, with the author getting close enough in many cases to take intimate photographs of birds and animals. He observes and listens to the lovely songs of a wide range of avian summer visitors to the estate, including whitethroat, sedge warbler, garden warbler, willow warbler, redstart, spotted flycatcher and chiffchaff. By the banks of the May Burn and River Earn he watches pairs of sand martins excavating their nest burrows in the sandy river banks, he discovers a pair of rare visitors to Scotland, little ringed plovers, and observes that nuthatches have extended their range north. Walking with Wildlife is an up-to-the-minute, sharply and lovingly told account of the state of the natural environment in Perthshire.

Signed copies available from the author at

or copies from Thirsty Books at

Wildlife and the Law  (Thirsty Books, Edinburgh, 2019. £10)   

This is an updated version of my earlier Wildlife and the Law, and incorporates changes in the law since that earlier publication. Both versions have been supported financially by PAW Scotland, with the original book having been well-received by readers with a wide variety of interests.

In Scotland there is a plethora of legislation protecting a diverse range of animals and plants plus habitats of special interest. Some of the legislation is very old and much of it is very complex.

Wildlife & the Law is designed in part to help prevent wildlife offences being committed, though where prevention has failed the well-indexed contents should help the reader recognise the offence and respond. It spells out chapter and verse in an easy-to-follow text and numerous colour photographs.

As well as wildlife law, the book includes separate chapters on cruelty to domestic and captive animals, a brief chapter on offences relating to dogs, and one on offences committed against Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

Wildlife & the Law will be an asset to a range of people:

  • Police officers, and the staff of other organisations who have some responsibility in the investigation of wildlife crime;
  • Countryside rangers, foresters, badger groups, bat groups and others with a professional interest in wildlife issues;
  • Landowners, gamekeepers, farmers and pest controllers, who might use traps and snares or control ‘pest’ species in the course of their work;
  • Hill walkers, and others who take advantage of the countryside for recreation;
  • Property owners, developers or even householders who might have concerns with nesting birds, bat roosts or badger setts.

‘Whether used as a quick reference or to understand wildlife crime’s complex legislation, this book is a real aid for any wildlife or rural officer‎.’                                                                PC Charles Everitt, investigations support officer, UK National Wildlife Crime Unit 

‘A great asset not just for those who are following-up potential wildlife crime incidents, but also for any countryside user who wants a better understanding of the laws protecting our fantastic wildlife.’                                                                                                                                Ian Thomson, senior investigations officer, RSPB Scotland.

‘No stone is left unturned as the wildlife crime detective par excellence deploys his great breadth and depth of specialist knowledge.’                                                                      Professor Des Thompson, Scottish Natural Heritage

Please note that this book is only available in a few selected shops, but signed copies can be obtained from:

Alan Stewart –  or 01738 840769. This book retails at £10 but for £15, which includes p&p, you can have a copy of Wildlife and the Law PLUS any other one of my books.  (This offer excludes Walking with Wildlife, my newest book, which is £15 plus £1.35 p&p).  Let me know your choice and I’ll get them in the post.

Copies of Wildlife and the Law can also be obtained from Thirsty Books at

Note that this book is now also available in Kindle form at

Killing by Proxy: wildlife crime in the UK today (Thirsty Books, 2017 – £9.99)

The author draws on half a century of experience in general policing, CID investigations, specialist wildlife crime investigation and criminal intelligence work to analyse and expand on wildlife crimes and incidents occurring right across the UK and reported in the media and on social media. He narrows the range to concentrate on cruelty to wild animals, such as fox hunting, hare coursing and crime committed against badgers. The main part of the book analyses crime associated with game management, especially that relating to intensive driven grouse shooting, and included is a chapter on the valued assistance in some police investigations by experts with relevant skills.

Is foxhunting pest control or simply a nice day out for garishly-dressed people on horses? What cruelty is involved? What is happening to the satellite-tagged hen harriers and golden eagles that have disappeared? Why is evidence obtained by covert surveillance by non-government organisations frequently disallowed by prosecutors or courts? Should shooting be licensed or should driven grouse shooting simply be banned? Who are the main people behind raptor persecution? How can rich landowners avoid prosecution? With all of these questions is the relevant legislation working? What, if anything, is being done to improve the situation? All of these, and more, are discussed in depth by an author who has experienced the complexities of these investigations.

The cover photo of the book is by renowned wildlife photographer Laurie Campbell and is of a female hen harrier about to take a chick offered as diversionary feeding at Langholm Moor. There are 16 pages of colour photographs elaborating on some of the content.

Signed copies available from author from 14 December 2017 at

or copies from Thirsty Books at

A Wealth of Wildlife (Thirsty Books 2015) – £9.99 

Front cover of 'A Wealth of Wildlife'Alan Stewart’s account of a year walking a Highland Perthshire farming and shooting estate demonstrates that a vast range of wildlife can thrive where conservation is embraced within land management. The book is a culmination of a lifetime’s knowledge of wildlife, the author guiding the reader into the secret lives of the birds and animals in his native Perthshire. His country lore allows him to watch a hunting goshawk and a sleepy tawny owl after being alerted to their presence by other birds; you can almost hear the songs of birds such as mistle thrush, lapwing and common sandpiper. There are vivid narratives of encounters with less commonly seen birds such as the white-tailed eagle, snow goose, crossbill, green woodpecker and garden warbler. The author has close assignations with mammals such as fallow deer and red squirrels and follows the fascinating trail of a hunting fox in the snow.

Praise for Alan Stewart:

‘The author is ever alert, taking time to note the beauty of his surrounding, the birds and birdsong.’—Scots Magazine

‘Narrated in a charming informal style – a pleasure to read.’—Scottish Association for Country Sports Journal

‘Confidently written, conversational, highly educational – quite an inspiration.’—BirdGuides

‘Britain’s foremost wildlife detective.’—Scottish Field

Signed copies available from the author at

or copies from Thirsty Books at



A Lone Furrow (Argyll 2011) – £9.99

–       more investigations into wildlife crime from the author of Wildlife Detective

Following on from Wildlife Detective, A Lone Furrow continues to reveal the specialisation required in obtaining a conviction in crime committed against birds and animals that cannot give evidence on their own behalf. The detailed police investigations show the meticulous work that police wildlife crime officers carry out to try to prepare a case for prosecution, the range of organisations that they can call on to assist, the successes, and of course the frustrations. The author is in no doubt that some of these crimes are the most challenging in over 45 years of policing, but the investigations are thoroughly explained in a manner which is often humorous and sometimes even self-deprecating.

Amusing and amazing anecdotes from the author’s early police career are merged with wildlife cases and illustrate the breadth of experience required of a police officer.

With suspects ranging right across the social spectrum, public expectations often unrealistic and victims ranging from salmon to seals; guinea pigs to golden eagles; hedgehogs to hares; pearl mussels to peregrines, this book is a unique insight into the enforcement of wildlife law.

/////Signed copies available from the author at ///

The Thin Green Line (Argyll 2009) – £11.99

Wildlife Crime Investigations in Britain and Ireland today



“Alan Stewart is the foremost wildlife detectives in the country.”

Sporting Rifle Magazine



From the author of the bestselling Wildlife Detective a unique book which presents a wide-ranging survey of the scale of wildlife crime in Great Britain and Ireland today – and how the forces of law and order attempt to combat it.  With the help of his colleagues in various forces, Alan Stewart, the foremost wildlife detective in these islands, presents fascinating case studies from all corners of Britain and Ireland, and also recounts how the effects of international crime manifests itself on these shores; crimes against wildlife of all kinds, from water voles to elephants, from rare bulbs to Indian tigers.

Here’s a sample:

  • North Wales: the illegal commercial trade in wild bluebells
  • Grampian: releasing non-native crayfish
  • Leicestershire: butterflies, badgers and bats, and a county council is charged
  • London: the illegal trade in endangered species on the streets of England’s capital
  • East Anglia: a wealthy landowner and a retired magistrate involved in egg collecting – surely some mistake?
  • South Wales: A sturgeon offered for sale; call in the police or perhaps Her Majesty the Queen?
  • Fife: A major dog fighting ring is broken in a quiet Scottish backwater
  • Ireland: incredible cruelty to greyhounds at the end of their racing career
  • Northern Ireland: A chough shooter not too chuffed after conviction
  • Lincolnshire: The profit – and the unsavoury characters – involved in the illegal tortoise trade
  • Merseyside: three men called Dave are convicted of badger digging
  • Strathclyde: a remarkable rescue of a badger from death by slurry

Told with his customary wit and in his own earthy style, Alan Stewart continues his quest to tell tales and expose the vicious criminals that threaten our natural heritage.

/////Signed copies available from the author at ///

Wildlife Detective (Argyll 2007) – £9.99

Wildlife Detective is an insightful and humorous account of over 40 years policing crime committed against various forms of wildlife, from deer and salmon poaching to the poisoning of rare birds, egg collecting, cruelty, the taking of freshwater pearl mussels and much more.  Many of the accounts are the stuff of folklore.

There is a serious side to the book, which highlights inadequacies of earlier legislation and consequent failures of cases which in the early part of the 21st century resulted in improved legislation.  How evidence is obtained isexplained in a logical yet light way, interspersed with hilariously funny accounts of criminals outfoxed, cops wild with frustration and the community’s appreciation of their environment and its wildlife.

/////Signed copies available from the author at ///


Praise for Wildlife Detective (Argyll 2007)

Wildlife Detective paints a vivid picture of the life and work of one of Scotland’s best known crimefighters … Stewart brings cases from the pages of his notebooks to life with warmth and humour.

The Scotsman

Transvestite hillwalkers do not often feature in wildlife crime investigations but this one did help enliven what can be a tense and complicated job for a dedicated band of professionals.

The Daily Mail

Alan Stewart has been a key figure in the fight against wildlife crime in Scotland … I can wholeheartedly recommend this book.

Shooting and Conservation Magazine (BASC)


The book’s tone is straightforward and methodical, as if torn from the pages of his police notebook … there are numerous scenes of comedy stemming from criminal incompetence.  There are also staggering accounts of animal cruelty.

Sunday Herald

Within a couple of chapters I was hooked … Narrated in a charming informal style … some wonderful direct quotes from the wrongdoers and even some of the cops, which had me laughing helplessly.

Scottish Association for Country Sports Journal

40 years sleuthing have done nothing to dampen his enthusiasm… The author is ever alert, taking time to note the beauty of his surrounding, the birds and birdsong. The book has humour, larger-than-life characters …..his writing rings with the sincerity of his concern.

Scots Magazine

Not quite John Buchan, but close … the sheer variety of wildlife crime as witnessed by Stewart is astonishing.

The Herald



5 Responses to My Books

  1. Pingback: Rare member of the tit family photographed | Wildlife Detective

  2. Pingback: The Poisoned Golden Eagle and the Man from Lewis – an except from ‘The Thin Green Line’ | Wildlife Detective

  3. Pingback: Sunday book review - Killing by Proxy by Alan Stewart - Mark AveryMark Avery

  4. Andy says:

    I work as a police officer in sw Scotland and interested in gaining more knowledge in wildlife crime, what books do you recommend and how do i purchase them?



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