Gamekeeper guilty of multiple bird deaths on Barns Estate, Peebleshire

A gamekeeper on the Barns Estate near Kirkton Manor, Peebleshire, was found guilty of killing 20 raptors by poisoning them. The keeper was charged with killing 25 birds originally, but several of the corpses were too badly decomposed to ascertain their cause of death. The gruesome discovery on the Barns Estate, where the accused had worked as a gamekeeper for 17 years, was made in March 2004 and included buzzards, a goshawk and a tawny owl. Investigators found 12 rabbit and pheasant carcasses that had been slit open and laced with blue poison granules.

The keeper’s defence lawyer: “He is clearly someone who has respect for the countryside. I think it would have been wrong to portray [him] as someone who has no respect for birds of prey”.

Fortunately, Sheriff James Farrell (Selkirk Sheriff Court) disagreed and the keeper was convicted and fined £5,500.

A spokesman for Wemyss & March Estates Ltd (who manages the Barns Estate) said he was completely unaware of his gamekeeper’s illegal activities.

Further info: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3597952.stm

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