Remember those illegal pole traps found set on Mossdale Estate?

Remember those three illegally-set pole traps that were found on the Mossdale Estate in the Yorkshire Dales National Park last year? (Photo: RSPB)

You know, the ones where a Mossdale Estate gamekeeper was filmed by the RSPB as he re-set them on posts on the grouse moor? (Photo: RSPB)

Yes, the gamekeeper who escaped with a police caution after a procedural blunder, instead of facing a full blown prosecution.

Well, guess what? Two of those traps had been used previously to illegally catch birds. How do we know? Because when those traps were seized from the Mossdale Estate, sharp-eyed and forensically-aware RSPB investigators suspected that they’d been used for trapping other birds. The traps were sent for expert examination at the Wildlife Forensics Unit at the SASA labs near Edinburgh and tests revealed the presence of kestrel DNA on one trap, and DNA from another (unidentified) falcon species on the other. (Photo: Guy Shorrock)

Unfortunately a prosecution was not possible as it wasn’t known where the traps had been used previously, when they’d been used, and by whom.

You can read more about this, and other DNA cases, on a fascinating RSPB Investigations blog written by Guy Shorrock and published earlier this afternoon (here).


6 Responses to “Remember those illegal pole traps found set on Mossdale Estate?”

  1. 1 Doug Malpus
    April 13, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    I hope the net or should that be the trap is tightening around our game killing industry.


  2. April 13, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    all over the country there are gamekeepers soaking their favourite toys in linseed oil to get rid of the wrong DNA…..

  3. 3 keen birder
    April 13, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    no suprise there, xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx Probably one of the easier offences to prove, terrible death for any victim, hung upside down caught by your feet, suffering must be horrendous. I suppose the culprits wont even think about it.

  4. 4 crypticmirror
    April 13, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    Traps have definitely been used illegally, but there is no mechanism for prosecuting the crime even though we know the business which benefited from them being used and they were used on that businesses land and found in the possession of that business’ employees? Even Kafka would be stunned by this.

    • April 13, 2017 at 11:29 pm

      There was a mechanism for prosecuting for the setting of three pole traps but the police cocked it up and just cautioned the keeper (and later admitted they’d made a mistake).

      Prosecuting for the earlier offences of using the traps to catch a kestrel and an unidentified falcon wasn’t possible in this case because, as Guy points out, without an admission from the keeper there was no information about where the traps had been used previously, when, and by whom.

  5. 6 Thomas David Dick
    April 14, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    and this is the Force area where the police took some children up onto a grouse moor so they could learn about the countryside…wonder if they showed them how to set an illegal trap?…thats how to fix these criminals eh??

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