Dumfriesshire man charged with possession of banned poison

scales of justiceMichael Johnston, 45, of Pretoria Road, Eastriggs, Dumfriesshire has been charged with possession of the banned poison Strychnine.

Strychnine is one of eight poisons listed on the Possession of Pesticides (Scotland) Order 2005, which makes it illegal to have, let alone to use it. The other seven are: Aldicarb, Alphachloralose, Aluminium phosphide, Bendiocarb, Carbofuran, Mevinphos and Sodium cyanide. Regular readers will recognise the name of most of these poisons which have regularly been used to kill birds of prey.

Johnston is further accused of attempting to steal red diesel at Dryfesdalegate Farm, Lockerbie, in April 2014. He is also alleged to have trespassed at the farm and to have kept various types of ammunition in his vehicle.

The case was continued without plea last week at Dumfries Sheriff Court – next hearing 22 October 2014.

15 thoughts on “Dumfriesshire man charged with possession of banned poison”

  1. Alleged poison, ammunition and diesel theft. Quite a lot going on there. Be interesting to read the background when/if it unfolds.

  2. I wonder if he knows who is responsible for all the dead badgers that keep turning up just around Lochmaben too?

      1. I’ve tried their web-reporting form, but it is clearly aimed squarely at professionals and not lay people. Asking for grid references and everything (there is a tool that allegedly enables this, but only if you know a specific location already and you have to leave the reporting page and faff around a lot to get to it) when what I want to say is “2 dead badgers, intact looking, on the verge half a mile before Lochmaben (Lockerbie-side) on A709. 1 dead badger Torthorwald side, laminated to the road surface on the centre line about 1 mile out. (using Friday’s sightings of Badger corpses)

        Their webform doesn’t allow that though. Its a clear case of something designed by people who know specifics and who don’t realise their audience is lay people that don’t. Designing for the industry, by the industry.

  3. When one crime is committed …..it is easier to commit more… that’s why the police love raiding gamekeepers..

    1. The ‘trespass’ issue is interesting. The following is from the very useful book, ‘Scots Law for Journalists’ (2010):

      “The Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994 made some types of trespass criminal, for example for the purpose of holding a ‘rave’ or setting up a ‘New Age’ encampment. It creates a complex offence where two or more people enter and remain on land (not buildings or roads) without lawful authority or occupier’s consent and with the purpose of remaining there. For the offence to be committed, though, the occupier must have taken reasonable steps to ask them to leave and have called the police. The senior police officer must then reasonably believe that the people are trespassers and have caused damage to land or property, used abusive or threatening words or brought six or more vehicles on to the land. The offence is only committed when the trespassers refuse to obey a police direction to leave. The same Act creates an offence of ‘aggravated trespass’ on land in open air (not roads) where the trespasser’s conduct will intimidate those engaged in lawful activities. This is aimed at field sport saboteurs”.

      1. I wonder if anyone in Scotland has ever been taken to court on that charge…would presumably lead to an interesting legal debate on the meaning of “trespass” in Scotland…

        I was aware of this anomally….which is a fine example of the UK trying to impose its “culture” on Scotland.

  4. As Dougie says in first comment – would be interesting to see some background – what reasons were given inn court for his possession of the strychnine?

      1. Lets stick to facts though – rather than suggestions – what was the strychnine for – was he an old fashioned [and of course, now illegal] molecatcher on the side of his alleged thieving?..Was he in fact a raptor persecutor or just a poacher? I saw enough cases where some minor wildlife offence was seized on by the cops who had trouble proving more “mainstream” crimes. Doesnt do our cause any good to confuse these issues.

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