Brewlands Estate gamekeeper ‘cries with laughter’ at discontinued prosecution

Following this morning’s publication of an RSPB video showing footage of an alleged gamekeeper setting then re-setting an illegal pole trap on the Brewlands Estate in July 2015, which has been deemed ‘inadmissible evidence’ by the Crown Office (see here), we’ve been interested to see the response from the gamekeeping community.

Bert Burnett (an apparently now former committee member of the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association) posted clear condemnation on his facebook page (good) before the ‘discussion’ predictably descended in to criticism of the RSPB.

One of Bert’s followers ‘tagged in’ somebody called Chrissy Gray (for those who are unfamiliar with Facebook, ‘tagging’ someone just means alerting that tagged person’s attention to a particular post).

Chrissy Gray responded to the post with two ‘crying with laughter’ emojis:

For those who don’t know what a ‘crying with laughter’ emoji is about, have a read of this.

We were curious about who would be ‘crying with laughter’ about the news that this prosecution had been discontinued and so we clicked on Chrissy Gray’s name to find out who he was. Here’s what we found:

According to his profile details, Chrissy Gray is a gamekeeper at Brewlands Estate.

Interestingly, his comment has been up there for over three hours and nobody has condemned it.

They are figuratively (and literally?) laughing in your face, Roseanna Cunningham.



23 Responses to “Brewlands Estate gamekeeper ‘cries with laughter’ at discontinued prosecution”

  1. 1 Dylanben
    May 12, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Anyone know how much this estate receives by way of Government grants. If they were to suffer a reduction on account of this person’s behaviour, he might end up with tears for real even though there has not been a guilty verdict.

    • May 12, 2017 at 6:14 pm

      We should ensure the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity is asked whether the estate are in receipt of payments and whether he expects RPID to impose a penalty. Its high time he was dragged into sorting out his mates!

  2. 3 Willie S.
    May 12, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    They are underestimating what the public backlash is likely to be. It’s already been highlighted on BBC Scotland today. The crying with laughter part may well make the news tonight. Gamekeeping is a fairly insular occupation. Their employers conduct business with individuals (their clients) who cannot afford to be subjected to publicity odf this nature. Their employers certainly won’t be crying with laughter as this escalates, as it surely will.

  3. 4 Wildlife lover
    May 12, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    Complain to his estate boss. Should give us a laugh.

  4. 5 Alex. Milne
    May 12, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    Just because the evidence has been deemed inadmissable does not mean that a criminal act did not occur. We saw the occurence of a criminal act, even if It did not proceed to court. It just means that the organised criminal activity that is driven grouse shooting has as its supporters people able to prevent criminals getting their just desserts. Unfortunately there are people in government are also happy to allow criminal acts to go unpunished. Are there enough people in the SNP able to stand up against them? The law needs changing, no question about it. Is the Scottish government going to do it, or fall at the feet of the organised criminals?

  5. May 12, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    The offending post now seems to have disappeared. One poster is claiming the person involved in the case was named on the “lunchtime news” (although it’s not clear which one). Good to see the act being condemned although the focus of the condemnation seems more to do with how this will be regarded and its potential damage to gamekeepers’ reputation than the act itself. However, it’s interesting to see more condemnation of the RSPB than the person involved with several claiming it shows the RSPB weren’t concerned about the safety of birds. Not sure what they expected the RSPB to do beyond rendering the trap safe as I imagine removing it altogether might have been a) regarded as theft and b) made it less likely that the culprit would be caught & stopped from similar activity in the future.

  6. May 12, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    I see Brewlands Estate have holiday accommodation advertised through several agencies. Perhaps each of these might like to be asked for their view of sending holidaymakers to such a destination? Perhaps Visit Scotland might like to offer a view? Maybe Tripadvisor would be interested in the video of pastimes available at the holiday destination?

  7. 8 Rewild Scotland
    May 12, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Is it not a bit sick that Brewlands is allowed to advertise on Visit Scotland using our tax money to fund wildlife crime?


    Sent from my iPhone

  8. 9 Jimmy
    May 12, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    Highlights the type of individuals these estates employ – only the seriously stupid or one of their own could defend them now

  9. 10 Mike Haden
    May 12, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    Is Chris Gray a member of the SGA? If so a response from them may be approprite.

  10. 12 Jenna
    May 12, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    RSPB are forced to film these matters themselves because of the complete inefectivness of police Scotland.

    Surely SSPCA must be given additional powers to improve this site situation.

    Something is very smelly at COPFS…….how many wildlife cases are being dumped…..

  11. May 12, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    I cant get my head around this… the hen harrier nest cam was a research camera that incidently caught an act.
    The pole trap camera was actually placed to catch a criminal…. and caught an act.
    Both should be acceptable but given the clear difference in the reasons they were placed why did COPFS treat them the same way?

    Would SSPCA (powers to investigate welfare issues) have been able to install the camera?

    But why did the police take two days?

  12. May 13, 2017 at 12:08 am

    Although crimes against raptors are totally unacceptable & these sort of reactions from the keeper community are also unacceptable, it is important to remember that the keepers are also victims of this corrupt & unsustainable industry.
    I always refer to them as slaves since that is really the position that they are in.
    They are generally unemployable outside driven gameshooting & are often totally dependant upon their employers for housing.
    They are often specifically tasked with criminal activities which they cannot refuse to carry out.
    I have known a keeper to be downgraded & moved hundreds of miles for refusing to kill raptors.
    No, we cannot feel sorry for people who carry out such criminal acts against protected species but is important to understand the circumstances in which they find themselves.
    The lack of will in the justice system to deal with the owners & others who make the real profits from the industry is simply prolonging the inevitable end of driven grouse shooting in particular & ensuring the continued existence of keepering.
    Keepers are by & large a very dispirited bunch who are trapped in this system, despite the bravado that they show publicly.
    Being otherwise unemployable, generally unqualified,completely enslaved & forced to carry out very unpleasant duties while being seen as the lowest of the low by their employers & clients……..it is a surprise they don’t just put their shotguns in their mouths & end it all !

    Keep up the pressure !

    • 15 Andrew
      May 13, 2017 at 9:09 am

      And this persons employer forced them to make a post on facebook with the two emojis?

    • 16 Andrew
      May 13, 2017 at 9:17 am

      For any gamekeepers caught in the trap you describe there is something in employment law called constructive dismissal and most will be very quickly aware of what is expected of them during their initial employment but continue to work in that industry.
      If there were a majority in the industry against committing wildlife crime employers would not be able to force the issue.
      I do have some sympathy for those who have a genuine problem but I can’t hear a mass of voices anywhere.

    • 17 J .Coogan
      May 13, 2017 at 9:44 am

      You really don’t understand the game keepering fraternity ,unemployable, yes ,unqualified ,yes, but they don’t see it like that at all, they think they are superior to everyone in the countryside .Because they are close to the Laird and rub shoulders with millionaires they feel that somehow they are accepted in that society are protective of it ( they are not bright).The killing of everything that threatens their “game” is done with fervour .They WANT to do it,like dog trying to please his master, the more they kill the more macho they feel .Did you hear that moron from Brewlands bragging that if he only had his shotgun that buzzard would be dead , they are wee boys living in a John Wayne world you are giving way too much credence to the thick bastards.

      • 18 AlanTwo
        May 13, 2017 at 10:59 am

        As always there are exceptions, but I think J. Coogan’s excellent analysis is often very close to the truth. The reasons why people persecute wildlife or abuse animals are often complex, but it’s a mistake to think it’s all about the money or about being forced reluctantly into it.
        The motivation is often a mix of power (doing it because you can), revenge (environmentalists have tried to push us around for too long), class (don’t come to me with your degrees and fancy papers), superiority (as JC described), solidarity (with your colleagues and bosses), excitement (doing something you know is illegal), ‘hardness’ (showing your mettle to your mates down the pub) and often something close to sadism.
        There are good and bad gamekeepers, but if you had to characterise the profession as a whole, you’d have to say some pretty unflattering things.

      • 20 Bill
        December 29, 2017 at 2:16 am

        Well said, sometimes it seems they are blind to the lairds holding a hoop up for them to jump through, and hopefully a change is in the offing

    • May 14, 2017 at 2:48 pm

      How much of a victim or not we consider gamekeepers to be depends on our sociological compass.
      All criminals can be considered victims to a certain extent.
      I have mixed feelings myself and my pacifism was caught out by a dear friend on this issue but one thing i am sure of. Their bosses are ten times worse than their henchmen. Cowards and hypocrites are the least insults which come to mind.

  13. 22 Alan
    May 13, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Is it not a bit sick that Brewlands is allowed to advertise on Visit Scotland using our tax money to fund wildlife crime?


  14. 23 Bill
    December 29, 2017 at 2:11 am

    It may be beneficial in the long term, Especially with the S.O.S.G.E.P (South Of Scotland Golden Eagle Project) Making progress, To calculate the expected tourism influx and the expected revenues from the aforesaid, As apposed to the potential loss and upset to the gaming industry, With the proposed potential of a partial subsidisation, To encourage the gaming/sporting fraternity to come on board with the project, Hopefully long term to wipeout this type of persecution of raptors in general, In particular those that are in decline and indeed non existent in some areas, Eventually where needed management of certain raptors rather than the barbaric trapping of these beautiful creatures.

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