Derbyshire gamekeeper guilty of using illegal trap

The long-running trial that began over two months ago against Derbyshire gamekeeper Glenn Brown concluded today, and he was found guilty of using an illegal trap to try and catch birds of prey on the National Trust’s Howden Moor in the Peak District. The court heard that he was interested in protecting the grouse where he worked. The trial began on 11 April 2011 at Chesterfield Magistrates Court.

Brown was caught after RSPB investigators installed covert cameras overlooking a trap and filmed him over a period of time visiting the trap. He was unlawfully using a pigeon as a lure bird – this is illegal and is an indication that birds of prey were the target species he was trying to catch. He operated traps on land in the Upper Derwent Valley owned by the National Trust but leased by another party between 14 April and 25 May 2010.

Brown was found guilty of seven offences under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 and the Animal Welfare Act 2010.

He was given 100 hours community service and ordered to pay £10,000 costs.

BBC news story here including video

More on this story later. Congratulations to the RSPB investigators for catching another criminal gamekeeper at it, and to Derbyshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service for seeing the case through to trial. In the BBC news video, it is reported that Brown is the 100th gamekeeper to be convicted of crimes against birds of prey. So, Alex Hogg, Chairman of the Scottish Gamekeeper’s Association, still think it’s “unfair to accuse gamekeepers of wildlife crime“?

15 thoughts on “Derbyshire gamekeeper guilty of using illegal trap”

  1. All I can say is it’s about time, I just wonder who will pick up the £10,000 tab though ???


  2. Doesn’t it tell you something when law abiding citizens are forced to break the law to protect the wildlife from birds of prey of which there are more in this country than there has ever been in history.
    Isn’t it about time there was some legal control of certain species of raptor, which desimate high numbers of wading birds and song birds.

    1. Concerned bird lover

      The only thing that needs some legal control are the gamekeepers and estate owners who murder our so-called legally protected Raptors. Since the beginning of the 1800’s the Raptors have been relentlessly persecuted into almost non existance by the shooting fraternity, the biggest culprits being the so-called “game bird” estates. Anything with a hooked beak or a claw was systematically destroyed in their biased belief that it was their right to protect their introduced and artificially increased game bird numbers by removing the predators. Legally protected Raptors are still being systematically destroyed in the same biased belief. Before this Raptors were abundant throughout the UK, they were even hunting in our city streets, song birds and waders in good numbers were in every suitable locality despite the Raptors.

      Raptors don’t decimate the waders and song birds, they only take what they need to survive, they are not like humans who kill for the “sport”. It’s the artificially maintained Red Grouse moorlands, the drained bogs and wet meadows, the so-called improved land, the pesticides and insecticides, the modern farming practices kept afloat with huge public funded subsidies that cause far more damage to our wildlife than the Raptors ever could. Much of this is happening outside the UK, unfortunately far too much of it has already happened here and is continuing. I think you need to learn more about the nature of our wildlife and the real reasons for it’s rapidly accelerating decline before you lay the blame on the Raptors.


  3. Excellent coverage of this item on the BBC 1 news.

    I think “Concerned bird lover” is confusing protecting wildlife with protecting commercial game interests which is what this persecution incident was about. Don’t hide behind keepering being beneficial for waders and song birds. Birds like the the hen harrier seem to gain little benefit from keepering!

  4. Funnily enough Mr or Mrs concerned shooter (I mean bird lover),

    The raptors in this area are not abundent or increasing, infact quite the opposite is a worthwhile read, it really gives you a taste of how well the guardians of the countryside work in this area.

  5. “law abiding citizens are forced to break the law”

    Not the first time that little phrase has been used in a vane attempt to justify criminality. There is no justification for crime.

  6. Not only will this keeper have no rerspect for wildlife [not an apt description for the released chickens known as pheasant poults] but he also showed no regard for the welfare of the pigeon..

    This so called concern for wildlife, only started as an excuse in the late 1980s…before that it was never used.

  7. Disregard for even the tame white pigeon used as bait, the bird was thrown out of the trap like a rag doll…so much for his care and concerns for animals…I would have liked to have seen what other feathers were left in the trap, I bet they could tell an interesting story over the past few months.

    The National Trust of course must show an interest in this criminal act on their property but maybe they are waiting for a reaction from thousands of their members…wildlife I thought was always part of the countryside loving National Trust image…maybe I was wrong how could this happen?. Hopefully they now should be checking all their woodlands and just what their tenants are getting up to especially those near pheasant/grouse shoots. Just a suggestion, but keepers should smile as you may be on sneakycam…a good result for the RSPB…to be continued here in Scotland I’m sure.

    By the way I have never seen many crows in these traps over the years so why are they still allowed with the excuse for killing crows, that’s the last bird they are all after.? I heard that the Larsen trap is now banned in Denmark, If so, why is it still in common use on farms and estates here today in Scotland and using live baits and no real control for protected species? I am still at a loss as to why society today still call these individuals gamekeepers, especially as their whole life seems to be committed to killing everything in their sights.?

  8. Its About time we started to get results, next step start jailing the b******s then we will see how brave they are then……

  9. One small legal point… I take it no Gun shop can supply ammunition or weapons to a convicted wildlife criminal or indeed they are not allowed to hold a firearms certificate? I may be wrong but I suspect this latest crop of of convictied keepers still do and are employed on the same estates here in Scotland?

    1. As far as I know, having a criminal record (not just for wildlife crime) can be cause to decline an application for firearms and shotgun certificates / revoke existing certificates and remove weapons. Whether this is an automatic process or is at police discretion is less clear. It does not seem to happen in every case.

      1. I would say that if it’s at police discretion then he’s almost certain to keep his licence, the penalties for wildlife crime seems to be treated differently to any other crime. It’s almost as if it’s not worth the effort for the police to soil their lilly whites on such trivial matters as Raptor persecution or wildlife protection laws.


        1. It would seem that a criminal record is no guarantee of being prohibited from having firearms:-

          Channel 4 news reported on 2 Nov. 2010 in relation to the Derrick Bird shootings in Cumbria:-

          “The report revealed Bird obtained a shotgun certificate at the age of 16 in 1974. He also successfully applied for a firearms licence in 2007 for the .22 rifle.

          In 1990 he was convicted of two counts of theft of decorating materials and one count of handling stolen goods from his then employer, British Nuclear Fuels Limited. He was sentenced to six months` imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, on each count concurrently.

          Had the sentence not been suspended he would have become a “prohibited person” for five years under the Firearms Act 1968 and would have had to reapply for his shotgun certificate._”

 …. refers.

          Seems to be a somewhat odd situation where being prohibited from having guns is not determined by the offences committed, but by the sentence handed down by the court.

      2. What tends to happen is the employer supplies the keeper with cartridges etc, as they buy them in bulk, plus if the employer is tight he likes to keep a rain on ammo used, so the keeper makes every shot count, if certificates are revoked he will just re apply after 12 months, but how many criminals have guns without holding a licence?

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