Northumberland gamekeeper cautioned for trap offences

Yes folks, here’s another one…

RSPB press release:

A gamekeeper from Northumberland has been cautioned by Northumbria Police after failing to attend and properly check a crow cage trap over a fifteen day period in December last year.  The trap had captured three buzzards on one occasion.

RSPB covert surveillance cameras monitored the trap belonging to a shoot in South West Northumberland and found that the trap operator had failed to attend the trap at any point during the filming. Footage showed the trap had captured three buzzards.  All three buzzards were released unharmed, two by passing members of the public and the third by the RSPB.  The video footage later showed the third buzzard had been in the cage trap for two days.

Investigations by Northumbria police, assisted by the RSPB, identified the trap operator, who during a police interview admitted to failing to check the trap properly each day and failing to release the third buzzard out of the trap. Failure to operate the trap lawfully is contrary to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Howard Jones from RSPB investigations stated: “It is unknown how these buzzards would have fared if they had not been released.  It further highlights the issue of birds of prey being attracted to crow cage traps and the vital importance that operators responsibly manage their traps.”

PC Colin Heath of Northumbria Police who led the investigation added: “We will continue to work closely with the RSPB to promote and protect our wild birds and to deal with offenders accordingly.”

Unfortunately, we are unable to name the gamekeeper as he’s been cautioned. We also need to be cautious in naming the location, although we can say it was a family-run shoot.

The big question is, why did this keeper only get a caution? Why wasn’t he charged and prosecuted?

16 thoughts on “Northumberland gamekeeper cautioned for trap offences”

  1. Why was this gamekeeper not charged and prosecuted ? Because Northumbria Police have more serious crimes to investigate after all is this the crime of the century ? No it’s only a Gamekeeper doing his job, and as far as the RSPB covert surveillance goes if they want to act in this manner I’m sure the SAS would be interested in their skills and send them to the war zones , instead of harassing a gamekeeper going about doing his job.

    1. As you have repeatedly refused to answer questions and you have repeatedly condoned criminal acts, there is not much point in communicating with such a mindless idiot. You are a buffoon of the highest order.

    2. Just the sort of reply we have come to expect fom the likes of you Crow Man, it seems that maybe you are also a wildlife persecutor and law breaker yourself, if not why would you condone such illegal activities from other wilful law breakers. You say that the Northumbria police have more serious crimes to investigate, that may well be so but it does not change the fact that where law breaking is proven then the police should be involved. After all, speeding in your car could be seen as a relatively minor offence but you would still expect the police to prosecute you if you were caught doing it wouldn’t you? Or do you think that because you are lets say for instance a lorry driver, a delivery driver or something similar that you are only doing your job and should be above the law. If all the gamekeepers etc, respected all wildlife as they claim to do and they kept “honestly” within the law, then there would be no need for web sites such as this one. The RSPB could then concentrate on looking after their reserves etc, covert surveillance would be unnecessary and the protected Raptors would find their own naturally regulated food levels in their chosen environment. Incidentally, the gamekeeper is not doing his job if he is breaking the law, he’s just bringing himself and the owner of the estate he works for into disrepute.

      The Red Grouse shooting estates should learn to live alongside the protected Raptors who have just as much right to be part of the moorland scene as any other wildlife. They need to accept that if they are intent on keeping artificially high numbers of Red Grouse on monoculturally crafted moorlands that can’t naturally sustain them then they should expect losses from predation by Raptors and live with it.

    3. The police love going after known criminals….they know that people who break the law once tend to break the law again and again. Thats why they are always delighted at the chance to raid keepers houses…they know they are going to find something.

      1. I think you will actually find that since the 80’s, early 90’s the majority of raids on keepers houses and vehicles have been unsuccessful. Bar the odd .22 bullet that has fallen under the landrover seat there is usually nothing out of place. There is admittedly some of the old school found in possession of banned substances but this will become less as younger keepers are more aware of the legalities and the profession can move forward.

        1. Groseman, When you talk about the younger keepers being more aware of the legalities and how the profession can move on, do mean the younger ones like the twenty something year old keeper I caught setting out illegal poison on dead rabbits in a raptor populated area or did you mean the young keepers on a snaring course who were told by a senior member of the Scottish Gamkeepers Association that it is OK to release injured badgers from snares?

  2. The RSPB and others are doing a fantastic job of disproving that the myth that these incidents are rare and are only perpetrated by a few bad apples, along with the work being done by the RSPCA and others they are showing the total disregard for the law that exists within the hunting industry.

    With the support these agencies are shown, their dogged persistence and the reluctance of the shooting interests to stamp out these illegal activities we may yet see an end to this type of behaviour. At the moment the sentencing is not helping the situation but that is not as important in my opinion as all the negative publicity. The more the general public see of this type of behaviour the more they are turned against it.

    Keep up the good work, the investigations team alone is worthy of an RSPB membership.

  3. Its sometimes beneficial to read back what you’ve actually written whilst not wearing your “I love Gamekeepers” glasses. The Gamekeeper has broken the law, he is the only person here responsible for wasting police time and money. He’s the criminal not the victim

  4. No Crow Man it’s a Gamekeeper not doing his job correctly as he is required to do, by not checking his crow traps for Buzzards etc every 24 hrs as per the law of this country. Everybody has to obey the law of this land, this includes Gamekeepers. As to the Gamekeeper only getting a caution, I suggest you ask the Police, instead of jumping to your own conclusions.

  5. Well done to the RSPB and Nothumbria police for catching yet another game keeper criminal. It was disgusting that he was only cautioned though.

    On a previous post I suggested that Crow man and Grouse Man were one and the same. I would like to apologies to Grouse Man for this. I dont agree with Grouse Man’s views but I do respect him for coming on here to fight his corner in a positive manor, unlike Crow Man who just talks trash in a negative manor!

  6. Crow traps are also being used to remove Ravens at the moment but sadly we here no one standing up for this bird at the moment especially as they are being removed from Langholm for taking white rats from bird tables!! There are several cases which the RSPB are currently investigating where Buzzards have been caught in Crow Traps and given this last sentence I would not hold your breath!!

  7. It’s a great pity, Crowman, that there isn’t an offence of denigration of the law as I suspect you’d qualify for prosecution without difficulty. The fact of the matter is that the gamekeeper broke a law of the land and deserves to face the consequences however the evidence against him was derived. One of the main problems at the moment is that a significant proportion of the shooting fraternity , via their self applied arrogance, are setting themselves above the law and applying their own determined solutions to what they have decided is a problem. Condoning such activities indicates an agreement with their intent and implementation and deserves the condemnation your entry has attracted. An inability to understand the finer aspects of the case can be excused; an outright promotion of the justification to carry out such activities as part of a gamekeeper’s job suggests your personal allegiance to the persecution of raptors, if not your outright support of such activities.

    As far as the sentence is concerned , I, too, am at a loss to understand why the outcome was merely a caution. One of the real requirements within these cases at the moment is the need for consistency. However, the main value of the incident is the fact that the gamekeeper was caught, the offence publicised and the circumstances entered on record serving to show, yet again, who are the perpetrators of ongoing raptor persecution activities.

    1. To all you do gooders out there I would say to you, as the lambing season is upon us go out into the lambing fields and see for yourselves the damage done to young lambs as soon as they are born by birds of prey. The sea eagle will lift a new born lamb and peck its eyes out and rip out its tongue, when still alive and rips its stomach open too, then you have the buzzard who will do the same, then you have Mr Fox who comes along and chases the lambs till such times as one is exhausted and it rips the throat out of the lamb, when still alive. Then you have the Ravens who also peck out the eyes and tongue of the lambs, when still alive. Most of the time the lambs are worth many hundreds and even thousands of pounds each, I’ve witnessed as many as a dozen lambs killed in one night . So what is the farmer meant to do ???
      I know , lace the dead carcasses with strychnine, phosdrine, yalltox, (carbofurine to the uninitiated) or alpha d.glucochloralose and walk away, and in the morning pick up all the dead birds of prey and dispose of them before checking the birds of prey’s legs for satalite tracking transmitters and pit rings. Then after you all witness the carnage caused to young lambs by birds of prey, then I hope you will be honest, and have the decency to post your true findings on this page.

  8. Never mind Crow Man..just ignore him, he wont like that..

    Why does it appear to be the case that such surveillance footage taken with such good effect in England – is allowable as evidence..and yet in Scotland the legal establishment appears to try to block this?…or is that why he only got a caution…?..surveillance footage couldnt be used down there.

    Also very pleased to see that Northumbria Police are working closely and praising the work of RSPB. We dont hear that very often in Scotland either…I wonder why??

  9. THREE raptors being caught in a crow cage trap, three highly protected species. These are three more raptors that we can add to the long list of other PROTECTED raptors that are caught in these traps every year. These are PROTECTED birds which could have easily injured themselves or even died in this crow cage trap. Snapper/clam traps have just been introduced onto the General License in Scotland, to add to the arsenal of traps that already litter our countryside. However, when going ahead and making the use of this trap officially legal, Scottish Natural Heritage did concede that the use of carrion could attract raptors into the trap and so, being that raptors are a non-target species as well as PROTECTED species, they have permitted only eggs and bread to be used as bait. Such a simple, but affective rule should now be carried onto the operating of crow traps. If SNH feel that eggs and bread are fine to attract corvids into the clam/snapper trap then why not extend this to crow traps and solve the problem of ‘accidental’ raptor capture. After all we are talking about protecting a legally PROTECTED species.

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