That poisoned peregrine at Leadhills

Leadhills peregrine Sunday Express April 2014Last week we blogged about a poisoned peregrine that had been found in the Leadhills area of South Lanarkshire and the alleged response of Police Scotland and the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) to the incident (see here).

There have now been some official responses.

The NWCU has stated: “Formal operational procedures have been followed throughout and whilst the investigation is on-going further comment is inappropriate. The investigation is being conducted with utmost care, and third-party reports in the media of improper conduct are wholly uninformed” (see here for full statement).

NWCU has chosen to use the ‘it’s an on-going investigation so we can’t comment’ card. Quite how explaining their response to an initial telephone call would impact on an investigation is unclear, but there you have it. Transparency and accountability don’t seem to be high on the agenda.

Police Scotland are quoted in an article that was published in the Sunday Express yesterday: “There was no suggestion from the person reporting the dead bird that it had been poisoned or appeared in any way suspicious, and we responded accordingly“. The article can be read here: Leadhills peregrine Sunday Express April 2014

The member of the public who reported the dead peregrine to the police has told us they are furious with this response and they have put in a complaint to Police Scotland. They argue that Police Scotland are well aware of the long history of raptor persecution in the area: 45 reported incidents since 2003, and of those, 34 incidents involved the poison Carbofuran – the same poison that killed this peregrine. Of course the discovery of this poisoned peregrine was suspicious – how could it not be?

The member of the public also told us about the ‘on-going investigation’. The police contacted this person to advise of their theory about who might have poisoned the bird (we can’t publish that theory but it’s quite astonishing). The member of the public asked the police officer whether they needed a statement about the discovery of the dead bird: they said ‘no’.

That’s that then. The Untouchables: 45. Justice: 0.



15 Responses to “That poisoned peregrine at Leadhills”

  1. 1 Pauline Jacobs
    April 14, 2014 at 9:38 am

    It’s either illegal or it’s not. It’s either a crime or it isn’t. Amazing.

    • 2 nirofo
      April 14, 2014 at 4:54 pm

      No crime is ever committed if you are a shooting estate owner or have friends in high places, it’s a well known fact that these people are incapable of committing an illegal act and never do anything against the law ??????????

  2. April 14, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Well done Sunday Express.

  3. 5 Chris Roberts
    April 14, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    It is blatantly obvious to me that Police Scotland have no serious intentions of fully investigating bird of prey crimes, it is way down their list of priorities. It needs public pressure and the Scottish Government to bring forth any change.

    The untouchables are, for the most part, beyond the scope of the law, but poach a fish from their land or interfere with one of their snares, well, then we really will see some police action!

  4. 6 Jimmy
    April 14, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    It apears to be open season on Scotland Raptors. Ironic that Scotland is slipping back to Victorian times the closer the prospect of independence comes

  5. 7 Merlin
    April 15, 2014 at 9:32 am

    word has it the officer involved was playing cards with some of his cronies in the game shed and it was also his turn to go for the doughnuts, he just had not got any time for the investigation

  6. 8 Merlin
    April 15, 2014 at 10:23 am

    The problem arises from the fact they have too much public money! how come when every council up and down the country is being forced to make cutbacks and shed jobs, the NHS, Police, Fire and Ambulance services too, these estates are still getting hand outs of over a hundred grand each, its insane. they wouldn,t employ gamekeepers at this time of year if they had to pay for them themselves, there,s little for them to do on the estates at this time of year despite what they tell you, that money should be diverted away from these estates just like your road tax isn,t all spent on our roads. Its a national scandel, read Mark Avery,s blog about Walshaw moor, subsidised to the tune of £550,000 in two years

    • 9 Grouseman
      April 16, 2014 at 8:29 am

      Merlin you clearly have absoloutely no idea about gamekeeping and wildlife management if you think gamekeepers have nothing to do at this time of year! It’s one of the busiest times of year for a keeper burning heather and controlling predators when game and other prey species is at it’s most vulnerable – in the egg and chick form. If there was no keepers employed at this time of year Fox dens and crow nests going uncontrolled would mean there was little or nothing to shoot when the season starts. Do you really think it’s a case of employing keepers in August and driving all the grouse that are there!? If only it was that easy!!

      • 10 nirofo
        April 16, 2014 at 2:12 pm

        Grouseman you don’t seem to realise how ridiculous you sound when you make statements like it’s the gamekeepers busiest time of the year heather burning and predator control, anyone who has any feeling for the countryside and it’s wildlife knows only too well that heather burning at this time of year, (or any time for that matter) destroys valuable habitat for Merlins, Short-eared Owls, Hen Harriers, Meadow Pipits and any other birds that might want to nest there, not to mention the removal of a valuable insect food resource. But then I suppose to you and the majority of the gamekeepers the removal of suitable nesting habitat for birds of prey is just what’s wanted. Don’t try to turn it round by saying that I have no idea about gamekeeping and wildlife management because you’d be way off the mark, most shooting estate gamekeepers idea of wildlife management is how many game birds they can produce for the guns to blast out of the sky and bugger the rest of the wildlife, (especially Raptors). it’s long past the time that the shooting fraternity and it’s Victorian attitudes were relegated to the scrap heap of distasteful history where they belong.

        • 11 Grouseman
          April 17, 2014 at 6:43 am

          Sorry but I didn’t say you had to agree or support the things keepers are busy at when I was stating the amount of work they need to do at this time of year. Wrong though I feel you are your entitled to your opinion we have to agree to disagree. Although obviously the burning season is finished now The burning of heather in a small fires in a rotational pattern is surely far more preferable to an accidental wildfire wiping out thousands of acres in one go. In grouse moor management you are only aiming to burn approx 10% of your heather cover per year leaving any abundance of longer cover for the species you mention.

  7. 12 Merlin
    April 16, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Let me guess it was a gamekeeper who told you this or you read it in shooting times, how many active fox dens can there possibly be? crows are nesting at the moment, its pretty easy to spot an active nest, I record a lot at this time of year it makes it easier checking for Hobbies later in the year, a large area can be covered in a day it would be easy to shoot them if I was inclined, with burning heather your looking two weeks work at tops for a team of 6 keepers, what they going to do fo 6 and a half months. while I,m on the subject of gullible the editor of shooting times chose to critisise this blog in his notes this week and ended by claiming he found it hard to believe a gamekeeper would be responsible for the rosshire atrocity. how many gamekeepers need to appear in court before he starts to doubt them, how many other people routinely use banned poison, how many other groups of people leave poisoned baits out in the open, the pair of you need to wake up and take the rose coloured specs off

    • 13 Grouseman
      April 17, 2014 at 6:53 am

      Merlin you clearly havnt got the slightest clue about gamekeeping and the management of a moor in terms of producing a surplus or grouse to harvest during the shooting season so much so I could hardly bring myself to respond to your idiotic comments. If all you think they have to do is burn an odd fire here and there, spend a day shooting crow nests and don’t think there is many active fox dens around your lack of knowledge surrounding the subject is staggering. I have absoloutely no doubts if you had to shadow a keeper between the start or April and July for example you wouldn’t last a week! 20+ hour days in all weather conditions, sleeping on the hill and constantly patrolling your ground are facts of the job not simply a view through rose tinted glasses.

  8. 14 Merlin
    April 17, 2014 at 9:02 am

    Bloody hell grouseman your begining to sound like an extra in the four yorkshire men sketch by monty python, “patrolling the moor” they will do its public money funding this, take the grants of these estates and see how many of them keep six blokes patrolling the moor in all weathers. that money would be better going diresctly into the community to do something constructive with. I wont agree to disagree with you grouseman I think your wrong. And you have not come up with any kind of argument to change my opinion simply saying someone knows nothing because they have a different opinion is not a valid argument

    • 15 Grouseman
      April 17, 2014 at 9:28 pm

      It’s not an opinion u have though your talking about something you clearly have no understanding of your just spouting nonsence and trying to call it fact.

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