Record penalty for poison offence at Glenogil Estate, Angus

John Dodd at Glenogil Estate

In September 2008, John Dodd, the multi-millionaire owner of Glenogil shooting estate in Tayside, had his farming subsidy cut by £107,000 by the Scottish Executive because it was suspected that illegal substances found on the estate were being used to poison birds of prey. According to an article published in The Guardian, several raptors, including rare white-tailed sea eagles, have either been found dead on the estate or have mysteriously ‘disappeared’ on the estate, although to date, no successful prosecutions have occured. It is the largest ever civil penalty imposed under strict EU cross-compliance legislation, which makes protection of wildlife a condition of the subsidy. Dodd is reported to be contesting the decision.

According to The Guardian, the same illegal poisonous compound – which was withdrawn from sale as an insecticide in Ireland five years ago because of its toxicity – was also found on another grouse moor, the Leadhills estate, in southwest Scotland in the autumn of 2005. The estate, near Abingdon, was run at the time by Mark Osborne, one of the UK’s most successful managers of moor shoots. Osborne runs estates and advises shooting moor owners across Scotland and northern England, including Glenogil. Four of those estates – Leadhills, Glenogil, plus Glenlochy on Speyside and Snilesworth, north Yorkshire – have been raided in the past two years by police investigating claims of birds of prey persecution.

At the Snilesworth estate, near Northallerton, a head-keeper and two game keepers admitted illegally using traps baited with pigeons to catch protected birds of prey. The head-keeper was fined £1,250. A keeper at Leadhills was convicted of shooting a short-eared owl in 2004 and fined £500; Osborne refused to comment.

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