It was good to see so much media coverage following the conviction of criminal gamekeeper Glenn Brown on Monday. It made local, regional, national and international news, probably because he committed his crimes on National Trust property – which isn’t somewhere you’d normally expect to hear about wildlife crime taking place. Let’s hope that the National Trust are reviewing the lease of their land to the ‘un-named third party’ as we speak.
Despite the broad media coverage, very few articles mentioned the dead sparrowhawk that was found close to one of the traps that criminal gamekeeper Glenn Brown was operating. Also found close by was the body of a white pigeon. Mark Thomas, one of the RSPB investigators involved with catching Brown at it, has written an excellent little piece about the investigation here, alluding to what might have happened to the dead sparrowhawk and dead pigeon.
Thomas also writes that since 2006, goshawk and peregrine productivity in the Derwent Valley has collapsed. By coincidence, gamekeeper Brown is reported to have been employed as a gamekeeper since 2006. Amazing.
Thomas and his colleagues from the RSPB Investigations team deserve a great deal of credit, especially for the innovative techniques they used to catch Brown. So too does Derbyshire Constabulary and the CPS. The resulting punishment for Brown, convicted of seven offences – 100 hours community service – delivered by District Judge Caroline Goulborn (famed for the recent cat-in-the-bin-case) is pathetic, especially when you consider the sentencing options available, which include fines up to £5,000 and a six month prison term for each offence. Had Brown not been ordered to pay £10,000 costs, some might have concluded that he had got off very lightly. Depending on who pays for these costs, and whether he keeps his job as a gamekeeper, some may be certain he got off lightly.