Another pigeon fancier convicted for killing a sparrowhawk

Last week we blogged about pigeon fancier Duncan Cowan who was convicted for shooting a sparrowhawk in Stirlingshire and was fined a pathetic £450 (see here). Incidentally, there’s more to that story, coming soon.

Today, another pigeon fancier at the other end of the country has also been convicted of killing a sparrowhawk, this time with a catapult in his neighbour’s garden. Yovanis Cruz pleaded guilty at Portsmouth Magistrates Court and was fined £653 plus £85 costs plus £63 victim surcharge (£801 in total).

[The sparrowhawk victim. Photo via RSPB]

We await further details on this case. [See blog update below]

Unlike Scotland, where increased penalties for wildlife crime are about to be enacted via the Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections & Powers) (Scotland) Bill which is currently at Stage 1 of parliamentary scrutiny, there are no plans by the Westminster Government to consider an increase in penalties for wildlife crime.

After gamekeepers, pigeon fanciers accounted for a significant proportion of all those convicted for raptor persecution crimes between 1990 – 2018, according to RSPB data (BirdCrime Report 2018).

UPDATE 19.15hrs: The RSPB has now published a press statement about this case (here)


2 thoughts on “Another pigeon fancier convicted for killing a sparrowhawk”

  1. They should have their pigeons confiscated if convicted of killing raptors. That would be a more effective deterrent than a derisory fine.

    1. I have to say I like that idea. A very quick look on-line suggests £150-300 average (but the sky’s the limit!) per bird (between 12-40 birds) suggests the fine does not fit the crime. It is sort of along the lines of proceeds of crime legislation. Pigeons, taxidermy, perhaps even land or land (hunting) rights confiscated. Definitely something the Scottish Government should consider in the up coming Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections & Powers) (Scotland) Bill. That would then provide levers against the Westminster Government.

      I think it is also worth remembering that these are the reported percentages; it does beg the question what the real level of crime is? It is certainly not lower.

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