26 year-old Ben Walker, a gamekeeper on the Sufton Estate, Herefordshire, has been convicted of 17 (yes, 17) charges relating to killing protected species with poisonous baits.
After a tip off, an undercover team from the RSPB spent several weeks in October and November 2009 making covert surveillance videos of Walker tending to his illegal baits on the Estate. He killed two buzzards and five ravens and told police he did it because they were a ‘threat’ to the birds he was rearing for a commercial shoot.
Walker received a £1,000 fine at Hereford Magistrates Court on 21 April 2010. Once again, a judge has not imposed a custodial sentence, even though this option is available for these types of wildlife crime.
Well done to the Sufton Estate though, who sacked Walker for these offences. A second former employee is currently under investigation for wildlife crimes on this Estate.