Bellway Homes has been ordered to pay the largest fine ever issued by a court in relation to a wildlife crime, according to police.
The housebuilder has been handed a £600,000 fine after demolishing a bat roost site in Woolwich.
In addition, Bellway also had to pay costs of £30,000 and agreed to make a £20,000 donation to the Bat Conservation Trust, after admitting damaging or destroying a breeding site or resting place in Artillery Place, Greenwich, south-east London, in 2018, where soprano pipistrelle bats had been documented the previous year.
All species of the animal in the UK are protected.
Inspector David Hawtin, of the Greenwich Safer Neighbourhoods Team, said: “The success of this case has been the result of diligent investigation by Sgt Simon Henderson and PC Giles Balestrini, two officers based on the South East BCU.
“With the expert assistance of colleagues from specialist units within the Met, the officers constructed evidence to prove that the company had indeed committed an offence by carrying out work at a site where bats were known to inhabit.
“Bellway Homes has admitted responsibility for this and I hope it reinforces the message that this legislation is there for a reason and should be adhered to.”