Head gamekeeper jailed for cannabis factory on sporting estate but not charged for poisoned buzzard

In April 2010, we reported on the conviction of 26 year old gamekeeper Ben Walker, who was found guilty of 17 offences relating to the killing of protected species with poisonous baits on the Sufton Estate in Herefordshire in late 2009 (report here). During the police investigation into the alleged criminal activities on this sporting estate, it is reported that a poisoned buzzard was found in an outbuilding used by his boss, head gamekeeper Mark Rigby. As usual, it was not possible to ascertain who was responsible for the death of this bird – even though it might appear obvious. There are no reports of either keeper being charged for possession of the poisoned bird. However, a search of an adjacent outbuilding uncovered what has been described as ‘a large cannabis cultivation operation’. It seems it was not so difficult to establish the identity of the guilty party in this instance, because, according to the RSPB, at Worcester Crown Court on 24 November 2010 head gamekeeper Mark Rigby pleaded guilty to four counts of producing and possessing a Class B drug with intent to sell and he was imprisoned for two years.

The conviction of Rigby is reported in the latest issue of Legal Eagle, the RSPB’s investigations newsletter, here.

3 thoughts on “Head gamekeeper jailed for cannabis factory on sporting estate but not charged for poisoned buzzard”

  1. It would seem that the laws of this land don’t apply when it comes to prosecuting criminals for wildlife persecution offences.

    What a travesty of justice when a guy can be prosecuted for drugs offences which the police wouldn’t have discovered if it weren’t for the original offence of wildlife persecution which was then totally ignored as if of no longer any importance. I think it puts into perspective just what the attitude of the police is going to be when it comes to pursuing wildlife crime !!!


  2. Mr Bumble got it right when he said: “the Law is a ass, a idiot”.

    I wonder, does Scotland have a better record, when it comes to punishing these criminals?

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