A HAMPSHIRE naturalist scooped a top environmental award for a campaign against illegal hunting.

Chris Packham was today presented with the Green Ribbon Award for the best environmental campaign by the media at the House of Commons, along with his fellow filmmakers Ruth Peacey, Luke Massey and Jez Toogood.

Earlier this year the team of four had spent 10 days in Malta, creating a series short daily video blogs entitled Malta - Massacre on Migration to highlight the widespread illegal hunting of migrating birds each spring.

Thousands of hunters armed with shotguns spend three weeks slaughtering vast numbers of birds - including rare and endangered species, as they make their way from Africa to their breeding grounds in Europe.

According to the campaigners, at least 24 species of protected birds were illegally shot in Malta last year in what is one of the most controversial bird conservation issues in Europe.

During the trip, Chris Packham was questioned by Maltese police at their force headquarters in Floriana.

The online campaign attracted thousands of followers who donated money to conservation charity BirdLife Malta and signed an e-petition to stop the annual massacre.

Receiving the award Chris Packham said: "We are immensely flattered. We were four individuals who saw crimes taking place and wanted to do what we could to help stop the massacre of migrating birds and support the majority of Maltese people trying to fight the strong hunting lobby in Malta.

"The spring hunting season in Malta is one of the most controversial bird conservation issues in Europe. We just wanted to make a difference."

On his return from the country, he was invited to brief MPs ahead of a House of Commons debate on UK policy on protection of migratory birds in Malta last May.

The Green Ribbon Political Awards aim to recognise environmental achievements both in the UK and abroad.