Police investigate shot buzzard remains found on Wirral pheasant shooting estate

The discovery of the remains of a buzzard have led to a joint investigation into alleged raptor persecution and other wildlife offences on a game-shooting estate on the Wirral.

The decomposed corpse was discovered next to a hunting tower on the estate in July 2020, according to a social media posting by a group called ‘Cheshire Against Blood Sports’. The buzzard’s decapitated head and legs were found close by. An x-ray at the RSPCA’s Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre reportedly found the body was ‘peppered with shot’. It’s not known how old the corpse was but it’s clear from the photographs that decomposition was quite advanced.

[All photos from Cheshire Against Blood Sports]

Other allegations made by the group include ‘unchecked Larsen traps & decoy birds found dead in the trap’. The group has also posted photographs of what looks to be a clam trap with the decomposed remains of something in it, an uncovered Fenn trap (although the circumstances of its use are unclear) and a large stink pit containing the rotting corpses of wildlife.

The group reports that the joint Merseyside Police/RSPCA investigation concluded with a visit to the estate in late August where words of advice have apparently been given. There are not thought to be any impending prosecutions.

It’s believed the pheasant, partridge and duck shooting on the estate is leased to a third party.

[All photos from Cheshire Against Blood Sports]

This article was re-published on the Birdguides website on 13th September 2020.

8 thoughts on “Police investigate shot buzzard remains found on Wirral pheasant shooting estate”

  1. A hearbreaking report. The Stink Pit illustrates total contempt for wildlife, no creature should suffer such indignity.

  2. ‘Words of advice were given’. Well, there’s a surprise. Said it before, half the police top brass go shooting. Zero chance of them prosecuting their mates.

    1. Janet,

      To prosecute the police need sufficient evidence to identify a named suspect. From what has been published about this investigation, and even with the best will in the world, the evidence appears to be lacking. That’s not the police’s fault!

  3. Horrible and these folk masquerade as custodians of the countryside. Disappointing that they have only had the hard word and no prosecution, lets hope the lease is cancelled.

  4. The lengthy report on the Cheshire Against blood Sports facebook page gives much more detail to this incident.

    What appears to have taken place on this estate exposes the weaknesses in UK laws which are supposed to protect wildlife.

    From reading the report, there appear to be a number of potential offences committed, all which justify prosecution.

    The stink pit containing so many rotting animals must surely be an environmental hazard?

    Yet, because the individual responsible for these offences can not be identified, then it means no one connected with either ownership of the land, or the use of that land for shooting faces prosecution and justice, for what can only be described as barbaric behaviour.
    Because no one has been prosecuted, then it simply means this sort of behaviour will continue.

    What is the point of legislation, if it can’t be enforced when offences are discovered? Is that what the public expect from the legislation which is supposed to protect wildlife?

    I wonder if Natural England have been informed, and if so are they proposing any action in respect of the use of a GL on this estate?

    Regardless of any criminal prosecution, immediate revocation of the right to use the GL on estates where [alleged] offences such as these are found, and the individual responsible is not identified, would offer a simple solution to issues where traps are not being used in accordance with the guidance and regulations, or where a stink pit designed to lure in predators has become an environmental issue.

    Surely even those who are responsible and law abiding in the game shooting industry can see the damage that these type of incidents do to the credibility of all those that shoot game?
    Surely they understand that their silence which follows the exposure of such incidents just damns the whole game shooting industry in the eyes of the public?

    Thank goodness for the decent people who have the time and courage to expose the barbaric behaviour which is taking place in our countryside.

    1. Well I hope that this group has contacted the Env Agency or, if they haven’t, they do it asap.

      Article 3(1) of the Waste Framework Directive and Article 3(27) of the Animal By-Products Regulations define waste as:
      ‘any substance or object which the holder discards or intends or is required to discard’

      Those bodies clearly are waste!

      S34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 imposes a duty on individuals who import, produce, keep or manage controlled (ie household, commercial or industrial) waste to take reasonable measures to:

      (a) Prevent any contravention by any other person of section 33 EPA (harmful or unauthorised waste disposal on or in land); and to ensure that their waste is:
      (b) Stored and transported appropriately and securely so it doesn’t escape;
      (c)(i) Transported and handled by people and businesses that are authorised to do so; and
      (c)(ii) Ensure that a written description of the waste is transferred with the waste. This must be done in order to help other people avoid breaching any duty of care (under S33 of the EPA) or the terms of a permit (authorising the operation of a prescribed process such as a waste management licence) or the duty (under S33(b)) to prevent the escape of the waste.

      All businesses are required to have their waste disposed of through authorised waste companies and to keep Waste Transfer Notes detailing the type of waste they have disposed of for two years. If they’ve not done that then this should be an easy offence to follow up. That company has abandoned waste on its land. It is keeping that waste there. The company will have individuals who are responsible for waste management on that estate.

      I don’t have Facebook but I urge Cheshire Against Blood Sports to contact the EA crime hotline.

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