In August 2017 we blogged about how a marsh harrier nest on Denton Moor in Nidderdale, Yorkshire had been repeatedly attacked by armed men dressed as gamekeepers (see here).
The adult harriers had been shot at and the eggs had been removed from the nest during a series of visits in May 2017, all caught on camera by the RSPB.
North Yorkshire Police launched an investigation, including a public appeal for information, and the RSPB released its video footage in the hope that somebody might be able to identify any of the armed men.
Unsurprisingly, there was a deafening silence from the leading representatives of the grouse-shooting industry (Moorland Association, National Gamekeepers’ Organisation, Countryside Alliance, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust), which can’t have helped the efforts being made by the police.
As is so often the case we didn’t hear any more about this investigation and we assumed that in the absence of any witnesses or new evidence, and the wall of silence from the shooting industry, the case had been quietly parked along with all the others that never make it to court. However, it seems we’d underestimated North Yorkshire Police’s new Rural Taskforce.
Earlier this week, the RSPB Investigations Team provided an update on this criminal investigation and it’s quite clear that North Yorkshire Police has deployed a certain level of creative determination in its efforts to bring these criminals to justice.
According to the RSPB blog, North Yorkshire Police had tried to use forensic voice analysis to compare the voices caught on the camera footage with the voices of several suspects who had been brought in for interview. Unfortunately, the sound captured on the video footage was of insufficient quality to allow a comparison. That’s a shame, but full marks to the police for trying.
Think how much easier it would be, not to mention the savings to the public purse, if those within the grouse shooting industry stepped forward to help the police identify these criminal gunmen dressed as gamekeepers on this Yorkshire grouse moor.