Edradynate Estate gamekeeper in court for alleged crop poisoning

Well this is absolutely fascinating.

From the Courier & Advertiser (Perth & Perthshire edition), 22 June 2017:

Gamekeeper in court over estate crop poisoning allegation.

A senior gamekeeper has appeared at Perth Sheriff Court accused of poisoning crops on a Perthshire estate. David Campbell was working on the Edradynate Estate, near Aberfeldy, when he is said to have committed the offence.

A charge alleges he maliciously damaged the crops between April 14 and 16 this year by spraying them with an unknown substance, causing them to rot and perish. The 69 year old is also said to have stolen a thermal imaging spotting scope.

He made a brief appearance on petition before Sheriff William Wood at Perth Sheriff Court and made no plea or declaration. Campbell had his case continued. He was released on bail.


You might be wondering why we’re blogging about this? The simple answer – we are very interested in the Edradynate Estate and have been for a long time as it has repeatedly been at the centre of police wildlife crime investigations (particularly the alleged poisoning of birds of prey) although nobody has ever been convicted.

Most recently (May 2017) our interest has been in relation to the Crown Office’s refusal to prosecute an unnamed Edradynate gamekeeper for alleged offences relating to the poisoning of several buzzards, despite a plea from Police Scotland to proceed (see here). The Crown Office has not provided an explanation about why this decision was taken (video evidence was not involved), other than to say:

The Procurator Fiscal received a report concerning a 66-year-old man, in relation to alleged incidents between 18 March and 4 June 2015. Following full and careful consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case, including the available admissible evidence, the Procurator Fiscal decided that there should be no proceedings taken at this time. The Crown reserves the right to proceed in the future should further evidence become available.”

As the alleged wildlife crime offences took place in 2015, the case will not become time barred until June 2018 so there may still be a prosecution, although we won’t be holding our breath given the Crown Office’s recent performances in this area (five cases of alleged wildlife crime dropped in the space of two months).

It’s ironic then, that an Edradynate Estate gamekeeper (although we understand this particular gamekeeper left Edradynate at the end of Jan 2017, despite what was reported in the Courier) has been charged with an alleged poisoning offence – not of a protected raptor species, but of a crop. That in itself is fascinating, but even more interesting is that this charge is deemed sufficiently serious for the Crown (prosecutors) to begin proceedings by petition (before deciding whether to prosecute on indictment or by summary complaint). Only serious cases are begun by petition.

We’ll be tracking this case with great interest.

Please note: if you decide to comment on this specific blog, please remember that this case and the alleged wildlife crime offences from 2015 are still ‘live’ and at this stage the offences are only alleged. Please think carefully about your choice of words. Thanks.

17 thoughts on “Edradynate Estate gamekeeper in court for alleged crop poisoning”

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    [Ed: sorry, can’t publish that as it implies guilt]

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    [Ed: sorry, can’t publish that as it implies guilt]

  3. Interesting in that this appears to be an [Ed: alleged] crime against the landed gentry, given recent events of cases being dropped do you think it is in the public interest to proceed with a case against a 69 year old man or can you forward the death penalty being hastily brought back

  4. This could get very interesting, for all sorts of reasons, and on all sorts of levels.

    I wonder if the mainstream media will pick up on it?

    1. Hilarious – thanks for posting this, really cheered me up. It was very satisfying having all my prejudices and stereotypes confirmed in one short article.

    2. Seriously, have a read of this (above) .Fuck sake these people are on a different planet. We really are up against it.

  5. One assumes that the Crown Office is prosecuting the alleged crop poisoning as there is the (potential) large financial loss. There is no financial loss caused by wildlife crime. Clearly for many of us this is unpalatable but may just be the ‘real world’.

    1. ‘There is no financial loss caused by wildlife crime.’
      I get your point but it isn’t totally correct.
      The Red Kite massacre was a financial loss in that a lot of money and energy had gone into those birds.
      I don’t like the idea of putting a financial value on wildlife because it can backfire but it is a valid approach.
      This doesn’t detract from your argument because the ‘establishment’ doesn’t see the value of wildlife in any real sense.

  6. As a general observation, I’m struck by the age group of gamekeepers that [Ed: allegedly] fall foul of the law and appear briefly in the public glare…the majority seem to be around forty or above.

    It can’t be old, entrenched attitudes as I’m sure some of the younger generation of gamekeepers are also wreaking havoc amongst our wildlife – are the latter better at covering up their misdemeanours?

    [Ed: Not referring to this specific case, as it has not been proven that this gamekeeper is guilty and the offences are still only alleged at this stage of proceedings…..however, in general terms, we’d disagree with your observation about the age of accused and/or convicted gamekeepers. There have been a number of recent cases where the accused has been well under 40 years old (e.g. see cases at Moy, Leadhills, Mossdale, Newlands). Criminality within the gamekeeping sector seems to us to be cross-generational].

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