SSPCA appeals for information after crow caught in illegal pole trap

Press release from the Scottish SPCA (12 May 2020)

Scottish SPCA appeals for information after crow caught in illegal trap

The Scottish SPCA has appealed for information after a crow was found caught in an illegal trap in Easthouses Park in Midlothian on 25 April 2020.

Scotland’s animal welfare charity was alerted to the incident by a local resident who managed to free the bird by removing the trap from around its leg.

Scottish SPCA special investigations unit chief inspector, who cannot be named due to undercover operations, said:

The crow flew off but undoubtedly would have sustained serious injury and is likely to have suffered a slow and painful death.

The pole trap is usually designed to catch birds of prey and is illegal to use and possess for use in the UK.

They are primitive, barbaric traps that have no place in modern society. These devices were manufactured at a time when attitudes towards animal welfare were very different.

We are appealing to the local community to pass on any information relating to a person, or persons, illegally killing birds, particularly birds of prey.

These traps are unlawful and indiscriminate and will cause unnecessary suffering to any bird or animal caught in them.

If anyone knows who this device might belong to then we would urge them to phone our animal helpline immediately on 03000 999 999. All calls can be treated confidentially.

Equally, if anyone spots an illegal trap such as this, or a trap or snare they suspect is illegal, please don’t hesitate to contact us.”


11 thoughts on “SSPCA appeals for information after crow caught in illegal pole trap”

  1. I’ve not seen one of those for a very long time, that is the real thing a proper pole trap as used in the C19th before they were outlawed in 1904. Shame we cannot use a pre 1861 man trap on the culprit. Savages catch or caught animals to eat, this trap was set by a barbarous bastard, one truly hopes they are caught but of course it is unlikely.

  2. I hope more information appears. My gut feeling is that it is unlikely to be a professional gamekeeper. This is because when doing their dirty deeds, the modern gamekeeper with at least half a brain will tend to use legal traps – just in an illegal way…which gives them the oft used (and often successful) defence of “it was on the post to catch a legal pest” such as a grey squirrel. If a gamekeeper has done this he must be very stupid and very arrogant, as he has left himself without hope of a remotely plausible get-out clause. This is a clearly long-since illegal variant of a gin-type jawed trap (still legal and available in america I believe), clearly used in an illegal way. If it was a keeper, it might be a rare case where his employer will boot him out with enthusiasm due to gross idiocy. Interesting.

  3. This is an extremely strange one. Easthouses park is a public park on the southern edge of Dalkeith. There are no shooting interests within miles, so very unlikely to be a keeper. I’m guessing some delinquent youth has found the trap in a farm stealing or grandparent’s shed and thought it would be fun to try it out?? Saying that, several years ago while I was surveying a nearby tetrad during the last BTO/SE Scotland Atlas, I did meet a local farmer who detested buzzards and blamed them for there being no lapwings left. I did point out that there was nowhere for them to nest or feed as his completely arable farm had fields ploughed up to the hedges and fences. He got quite unpleasant, saying he knew best, and it was definitely the buzzards…….

    1. That’s quite common, and they don’t like it when you ask if they’ve ever seen a buzzard catch a lapwing or curlew chick. On facebook someone who worked for a ferry company claimed with great authority that wildcats were in trouble because buzzard were eating their kittens, he didn’t like it when he was sarcastically referred to as ‘Attenborough’ and asked if he’d actually seen this happen. Unfortunately with the lockdown there seems to have been a really big upsurge in acts of cruelty towards animals in public parks. Too few decent people about to reliably catch the perpetrators, but still enough for the crime to be discovered and reported. It’s been pretty hellish and makes you wonder how much casual violence is directed towards wildlife day in, day out just off the beaten track in places where the public tend not to go. It would be bad enough if wildlife was being killed for the selfish and cold blooded reasoning it increases the numbers of other animals that can be killed by people who pay for that ‘fun’, but clearly there are those who get some twisted pleasure doing it for its own sake – and sadly there’s a certain profession they can gravitate towards to satisfy it.

  4. This will be a Fenn trap set on a post or pole, which is not legal in any way. However catching the people who did it will not be easy.

    1. Christopher look at the trap, this is not a Fenn trap used illegally this is an old fashioned genuine pole trap probably made pre 1904 when their use became illegal. once any case is over it ought to go to a museum. Along of course with the mind of the mind of the criminal oaf who set it.

      1. Hi Paul, I might be wrong (often am) but to me it looks fairly new – the plate and mechansism is modern galvanised steel. A proper old british gin-trap or pole trap (e.g. Tinsley brand) is made from a much heavier gauge metal…the way Edwardians used to over-engineer everything! And the patina just isn’t right even if it has sat in a cupboard. It looks like a cheap raccoon trap which is used widely in america, could even be chinese made. Have a google there are loads of variations. No doubt they can be bought off the internet, after all possession isn’t a crime, but improper use is. Hopefully there’s not a load of them getting imported. I am thinking a bone-headed youth or a smallholder – allotment type hen/chicken keeper / pigeon fancier.

        1. I’m a small holder Spaghnum! I still think it is an old trap but it matters not. The real issue is to be polite which numpty set it and can the police catch him.

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