Even casual readers of this blog will be aware of the frequency with which the name “Mark Osborne” occurs. His connection to locations with both actual and alleged raptor persecution incidents, which must of course be coincidental, is not confined to Scotland.
February 2008. Three gamekeepers working on the Snilesworth Estate, near Northallerton in North Yorkshire, have pleaded guilty to a range of charges relating to the use of cage traps containing live pigeons to take birds of prey.
In May 2007, following allegations of traps being set to catch birds of prey, the North Yorkshire Police, supported by the RSPB and RSPCA, visited the Snilesworth Estate. The estate is reportedly part of a network of shooting estates managed by Mr (John) Mark Osborne (56) of Banbury, Oxford, according to the RSPB link, below, and this link here.
James Benjamin Shuttlewood, the headkeeper of the Snilesworth Estate with 20 years experience, pleaded guilty to five offences, relating to the setting of illegal traps by his subordinates. He was fined £250 for each offence.
Charles Lambert Woof pleaded guilty to one offence of mis-using a cage trap. He was fined £100.
Eighteen-year old David George Cook pleaded guilty to two offences of setting cage traps. Cook, who was 17 at the time the offences were commited, was given a conditional discharge for 12 months.
Additionally, the three convicted keepers have each been asked to pay £43 costs.
RSPB story here: http://www.rspb.org.uk/news/details.aspx?id=tcm:9-183005
RSPB Investigator’s blog about this case here
2006 article in the New York Times about Snilesworth Estate, with James Chapel listed as ‘manager of a Snilesworth Moor estate’ (here). James Chapel is Director of William Powell Sporting (see here), a company owned by Mr Osborne.
Ian West, Head of RSPB Investigations added: ‘As a major manager of shooting estates Mr Osborne has a real opportunity to show leadership and signal an end to the Victorian tradition of intolerance towards birds of prey.’
The illegal killing of birds of prey is a major factor limiting the range and populations of many species across the UK.