Following the mass poisoning of raptors (16 red kites & 6 buzzards) at Conon Bridge, Ross-shire, seven months ago, Police Scotland has this evening put out the following press release:
Appeal for information in relation to death of raptors
Police Scotland has issued a further appeal for information relating to the deaths of raptors in various locations across the Ross-shire/Black Isle area earlier this year.
Following investigation Police Scotland can now confirm that the birds, 12 red kites and four buzzards, were most likely not targeted deliberately but instead were the victims of pest control measures. The raptor deaths occurred over March and April this year.
The criminal investigation into their deaths is still ongoing and Police Scotland continues to work closely with partners.
Detective Superintendent, Colin Carey, said:
“Investigations into the suspicious deaths of wildlife and especially raptors can be difficult and prolonged. The areas covered can be vast and it is seldom immediately apparent why a bird may have died.
“We work closely with partners to identify and thoroughly investigate all wildlife crime. The death of the raptors in Ross-shire remains an on-going investigation during which we are endeavouring to establish all of the circumstances around this crime. We would ask anyone who may have further information to come forward.”
A significant reward is being offered for witnesses or further information.
Partner agencies would seek to remind members of the public that if anyone finds any further dead birds or animals in the area they are asked to make a note of its location and inform the police on 101. Under no circumstances should anyone touch or attempt to recover any dead animal.
If anyone has any information regarding this matter please contact Dingwall Police Station, telephone 101.
This police statement is staggering. Pay close attention to the second paragraph: Police Scotland can now CONFIRM…..
How can they possibly CONFIRM this, without a full confession from the person who laid out the poison baits? Does this CONFIRMATION mean that they’ve got the poisoner? That he/she has been arrested? That he/she has been charged?
The truth of the matter is, they haven’t got the poisoner, so they cannot possibly CONFIRM whether the poisoner meant to target raptors or meant to target a legitimate ‘pest’. Besides, the only legitimate method of poisoning ‘pests’ is by the controlled use of rodenticides. We already know that the poison(s) involved in this case included a banned poison – the police said so months ago. According to the Vice President of the RSPB, the poison used was Carbofuran. We don’t know that for sure because Police Scotland has refused to say, and the Government toxicology lab who would normally publish this information has mysteriously chosen not to on this occasion. We also know that poisoned baits were picked up at the crime scene – as reported here and here. How can this possibly be classified as a ‘non-deliberate’ poisoning?! It’s illegal to even possess these banned poisons, let alone to use them!
What on earth are Police Scotland playing at? This press statement is a disgrace. If we applied their logic to every other raptor that has been poisoned by a banned poison over the last ten years, then they’ve all been accidental! An unfortunate mistake by someone carrying out pest control measures! What sort of message does this police statement send to those who continue to use banned poisons to kill wildlife? ‘Ah don’t worry lads, we know you didn’t mean to deliberately target that golden eagle/red kite/buzzard with your illegal poisoned bait’.
Somebody needs to be asking questions about this. It’s pointless us trying to ask Police Scotland – we’ll just get the stock response of “It’s a live investigation so we can’t comment”. So much for police accountability, eh? All this guff about how the SSPCA shouldn’t be given extra powers because they’re ‘unaccountable’ – Jesus.
So seeing as we have no confidence in Police Scotland to be (a) accountable, (b) competent or (c) trustworthy about this case, how about we ask the partner agencies “working closely” with the police on this case, whether they agree with Police Scotland’s CONFIRMATION that this incident was accidental?
Let’s ask Ian Thomson, Head of Investigations at RSPB: firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s ask Mark Rafferty, Head of Special Investigations Unit at SSPCA: email@example.com We’re not asking them to reveal any confidential information about the case, just whether they agree with Police Scotland’s assertions that these poisoned birds were not deliberately targeted, and if so, on what basis has the assertion been made?