26
Jan
18

Shocking abuse of power & privilege to shield raptor killers in Peak District National Park

We’ve blogged quite a bit this week about illegal raptor persecution in the Peak District National Park, and specifically about how the Moorland Association blocked the publication of an official press statement about illegal persecution (here), how gamekeepers and the Moorland Assocation have seemingly tried to derail a partnership aimed at restoring raptor populations in the Dark Peak (here), and how the RSPB has finally terminated its involvement with the project after enduring six years of this pantomime (here).

If any of you are still in any doubt about why illegal raptor persecution continues in the Peak District National Park and why so-called partnerships to tackle it have failed, then what you’re about to read should provide some clarity.

We’ve been sent a copy of an email from 2010. It is purported to have been written by Richard May, who at the time was the Peak District Chairman of the Moorland Association. The email, if genuine, was addressed to John Lomas (who at the time was the Director of Strategy & Development at the Peak District National Park Authority) and cc’d to Jim Dixon (Chief Exec of the Peak District National Park Authority at the time) and Jon Stewart (working for Natural England at the time but now working for the National Trust in the Peak District National Park).

To provide context, the discussion is referring to the police investigation in to the alleged crimes of gamekeeper Glenn Brown, which later resulted in his conviction (7 offences) and then a failed appeal.

Peter Robertson, named in the email, was at the time the RSPB’s Regional Director for Northern England.

Nick Herbert, also named in the email, was at the time the Minister of State for Police & Criminal Justice and according to his Wikipedia entry, had strong links with the movement that later became the Countryside Alliance.

We’ve submitted an FoI to the Peak District National Park Authority to ask about this alleged correspondence, and particularly any response that was made. We’ll report in due course.

Richard May is no longer listed as a Moorland Association representative on the MA’s website although apparently he’s still involved with grouse shooting in the Peak District, currently running a grouse shoot at Peak Naze as a tenant of United Utilities.

What’s fascinating though, is that one year on from this alleged correspondence Richard May served as the Moorland Association’s representative on the newly-formed Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative.

We’ll leave you to pick up your jaw from the floor.

UPDATE 7 February 2018: Peaky blindness (here)

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19 Responses to “Shocking abuse of power & privilege to shield raptor killers in Peak District National Park”


  1. January 26, 2018 at 9:10 am

    By “unique eco-system” I gather is a land teeming with grouse and pheasant propositioning the hunters without a predator in sight to ruin the fun. This species of human surely should be relegated to history as another ancient hominin.

  2. 2 michael gill
    January 26, 2018 at 9:19 am

    Why did you type “alleged crimes” when he was found guilty?

    • January 26, 2018 at 9:27 am

      Because at the time the investigation was being discussed (in the email), the offences were still only alleged. It was to emphasise to the reader that the Brown investigation had only just started and so Richard’s comments about ‘harassment’ and ‘seemingly trivial’ offences could be placed in context.

      • January 26, 2018 at 12:07 pm

        Yes and you can be certain that steps were being taken behind the scenes to keep the alleged, at that time, offences out of court. The inference is that the writer, up to that time, had been attempting to convey to owners and GKs that they could expect “protection”. It goes some way, as well, to perhaps explain why it’s “top of the range” legal representation turning out for the offenders who do fall foul of the legal system when all else fails.

  3. 5 Michael Haden
    January 26, 2018 at 9:56 am

    This lays bare what the shooting lobby want from these talking shops. They want the conservation organisations to tell them when their people are caught doing [allegedly] illegal activities, and they will deal with it (presumably by devising better ways to cover up [alleged] crimes).

    The underlying context of the e-mail is that if you have evidence [of an alleged] crime then don’t go to the police, let the [alleged] criminal know and his boss will tell him not to be a naughty boy.

  4. 6 Steve Harris
    January 26, 2018 at 10:10 am

    Richard May may have moved on, but the Moorland Association’s warped view of the world is perpetuated by it’s current Director, as typified by her infamous quote, “If we let the Hen Harrier in, we will soon have nothing else.” Well done for unearthing this evidence. Keep the pressure on!

  5. 7 Gerard
    January 26, 2018 at 10:47 am

    This isn’t really surprising, in my opinion. I suppose it is quite interesting though as evidence of the clash of different communities. The poor have always been clashing with the landed rich and their executors, welcome to the fray scientific community, it seems Marx may have been fairly insightful.

  6. 8 Andrew Archer
    January 26, 2018 at 11:25 am

    I particularly enjoyed , if that is the right phrase, the last paragraph where the author ‘incidentally’ suggests he might just have a word with his old pal and Police Minster Nick Herbert (or Nicholas Le Quesne Herbert to the likes of you and me). A nod’s as good as a wink, eh?

  7. 10 dave angel
    January 26, 2018 at 11:33 am

    If genuine, that is a remarkably stupid and ill judged email to have sent.

    It’s their arrogance that will be their undoing.

    The implied threat contained in the reference to Nick Herbert is particularly interesting.

    I wonder whether he has any comment to make.

  8. January 26, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    If anyone ever had doubts, this would surely influence their views on vicarious liability. This would leave no-one in any doubt about the complicity and prior knowledge of owners in the actions of employees.

  9. 12 J .Coogan
    January 26, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    I don’t think we have the first idea what we are up against, its very difficult to win against an enemy with money ,power and privilege (specially with the nasty party in Westminster and the media in their hipper) when we have none of these things.
    We continually call them arrogant, of course they are- they made the law and have been bending it to their will for a thousand years . They are untouchable and they know it.

  10. 13 Secret Squirrel
    January 26, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    Having worked with the Police many times over the years, the idea that they would carry out an entry and search under warrant for a ‘triviality’ at the behest of another organisation is frankly as ridiculous as the veiled threat of using the old boy network.

    As to people’s families being frightened and harrased in their home, as the old saying goes, don’t do the crime if you can’t take the time.

  11. January 26, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    Excellent journalism this week from RPUK and Mark Avery has more twists to this sordid affair.
    https://markavery.info/2018/01/26/35994/
    The RSPB have opted out of the Peak District BoPI and the HHAP but with all that has been revealed this week what does that say about the Hawk and Owl Trust?

    Sorry i am still on my ‘what happens when you make deals with xxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx rant?’.

  12. 15 Les Wallace
    January 26, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Stunning level of persistence, attention to detail and professionalism RPUK – thanks very, very much for pursuing this. Plenty of subject matter to brought up at Hen Harrier events this year (we are nearly half way between the 2017 and 2018 ones) especially at any in the PDNP!

  13. January 26, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    I think by now it should be obvious that the only reason shooting interests and their representatives engage in initiatives like this is to a) monitor what measures are being taken and b) to control and impede the release of information contrary to their vested interests.

  14. 17 Merlin
    January 27, 2018 at 12:06 am

    Outstanding work guys with the last few blogs on the Bopi in the Peak District National Park, this latest blog has really shown the Moorland Ass in it’s true colours however I am still of the opinion that the RSPB should not have walked away. This latest blog suggests to me they have thrown away a winning hand.
    Richard May’s letter if genuine suggests that both the peak district national park and Natural England are in the pocket of the Moorland Ass.
    “The time has come for the Peak District National Park Authority and Natural England to make it clear to RSPB that Police raids to harass gamekeepers with RSPB attendance is out of order and will not be tolerated in the Peak District”
    Hopefully the two remaining Raptor groups can work together and ask the awkward questions pertaining to the impartiality of these two Organisations mentioned above and how should the initiative rid itself of the Moorland Association, it is this organisation alone that is stopping any chance of progress, even BASC and the Countryside Alliance are now criticising Raptor Persecution with sideways glances in it’s direction
    We are gaining valuable ground on the criminal elements involved in gamekeeping in Scotland, In England we have a massive opportunity to make inroads into tackling the problems in the dark peak, if we fail here what chance do we have in Bowland,Nidderdale and the North Yorkshire Moors


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