gamekeeper convicted for poisoning offences on Leadhills Estate

A 20 yr old gamekeeper formerly employed on the Leadhills Estate in Lanarkshire was today convicted for laying poisoned baits, contrary to the Wildlife & Countryside Act. In April 2009, underkeeper Lewis H. Whitham was observed by a research officer from the charity OneKind (formerly called Advocates for Animals) staking out a dead rabbit, whose stomach had been split open and sprinkled with the deadly pesticide Carbofuran.

Whitham pleaded guilty at Lanark Sheriff Court and he was fined £800. This had been reduced from £1000 because of his guilty plea. The maximum penalty that can be imposed for this wildlife offence is a fine of up to £5000 and/or six months imprisonment. It is understood that Whitham is no longer employed at Leadhills and has since moved to North Yorkshire.

The Leadhills Estate has a shocking record of alleged wildlife crime incidents in recent years. See blog posts on 4 March, 6 March, 11 March and 14 March for a taster. In addition, OneKind claims that over a period of several months, numerous apparently illegal snares have been discovered on Leadhills, 3 badgers were caught in snares and 2 of these had to be put down due to their injuries, and also dead buzzards have been found in shallow graves.

If this most recent conviction isn’t justification for Roseanna Cunningham’s proposed vicarious liability ammendment to the WANE bill to be accepted, then I don’t know what is. Persistent wildlife crime exposed, yet again, on a so-called sporting estate. It’s disgusting.

Congratulations to OneKind for their dedicated research, and to the SSPCA who took the lead in securing this conviction.

For more details on the Leadhills conviction, see OneKind link here: http://www.onekind.org/onekind/blog_article/leadhills_conviction_strengthens_case_for_liability

Case details from PAW Scotland: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Environment/Wildlife-Habitats/paw-scotland/Resources/Newsletters/Issue2/Inthecourts/LewisWhitham2010

SSPCA press release here: http://www.scottishspca.org/news/511_man-convicted-for-poisonings

Crown Office and National Wildlife Crime Unit press releases here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Environment/Wildlife-Habitats/paw-scotland/news/Gamekeeperfined171110

We wait with bated breath (not baited rabbit) for the SGA and SRPBA press releases.

7 thoughts on “gamekeeper convicted for poisoning offences on Leadhills Estate”

  1. This estate has a dreadful reputation with raptor killing and poisoning incidents going right back to the 1970s…..in any just society they would have been closed down decades ago…

    As good an example of the need for estate licensing as youll find…you would soon find the owner keeping his shooting tenat in check then…

    Rather sickening to see the police patting themselves on the back on the PAWCS website…the few convictions which have been obtained here over the years were all done despite what I will be kind and call a distinct “lack of enthusiasm” on the part of Strathclyde…

    Well done the OneKind man…that took courage.

  2. Poor Whitham is apparently an “agricultural labourer” now. Funny how his Facebook page has him looking forward to the glorious 12th and burning heather. Wonder how the poor boy funded a QC for his defence?

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