another gamekeeper convicted of illegal poisoning

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.

Full story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/hereford/worcs/8635231.stm

One thought on “another gamekeeper convicted of illegal poisoning”

  1. 17 charges….the only unusual thing here, is that the prosecutor kept in all the charges. It is commonplace in such cases in Scotland, for the Procurator Fiscal to “boil down” a large number of charges into 3 or 4 ” manageable” [ie convenient for court time] charges. Sometimes charges are dropped altogether for convenience sake.

    What this leads to, is a lessening of the seriousness of what has been going on…when the Sheriff sees only a handful of charges he can only deal with whats put in front of him [or her!]

    Ive seen hard worked cases where the number of distinct offences against an individual gamekeeper have numbered into the 30s…being presented in court as 4 charges….and half of those being plea bargained away.

    Just another way in which the establishment have successfully played down these widespread, horrific wildlife crimes.

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