A 78-year old gamekeeper has been convicted of several wildlife crimes, including using the highly toxic banned pesticide Sodium Cyanide.
William (Bill) Scobie appeared at Dumfries Sheriff Court on Monday 29th October and admitted obstructing access to a badger sett at Jardine Hall Estate, near Lockerbie, as well as possession of the banned poison. Earlier media coverage indicated the placing of Cymag at the entrance of a badger sett. This stuff releases lethal cyanide gas on contact with moisture, which is why it’s been banned for several years.
This case has been running for a while; it was first reported by the BBC in July 2010 (see here) but we believe it was held up after the Cadder ruling (see here for an explanation) and it took some time before the case was given the go-ahead to proceed.
Scobie was fined a pathetic £270. The maximum fine for each offence is £5,000 and/or a six-month prison term.
It’s not known whether Scobie is a member of the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association. If he is, then we’ll be expecting to see a strong signal of zero tolerance from them, including a public statement to confirm that his membership has been terminated. But don’t hold your breath, we’re still waiting for them to issue public statements of condemnation about other Scottish gamekeepers who’ve been convicted of wildlife crimes this year (e.g. see here, here). Oh, and perhaps something about that shot golden eagle found on a grouse moor (here) and the results of their own ‘inquiry’ into the dead golden eagle found in Aberdeenshire (see here).
Excellent work by the SSPCA once again. In their press release, the SSPCA also thank Dumfries & Galloway Police and Procurator Fiscal Pamela Rhodes (once again). She’s obviously very good at her job – wonder why she wasn’t offered that third specialist wildlife crime fiscal position…
SSPCA press release here