Police Scotland have confirmed the discovery of the banned poison Carbofuran on Leadhills Estate, a grouse-shooting estate in South Lanarkshire that has been at the centre of police wildlife crime investigations at least 70 times since the early 2000s.
The highly dangerous poison, which even in tiny amounts can kill humans and animals, was discovered in July 2020. Police Scotland have told the Daily Record:
“We are aware of this incident and did investigate.
Forensics identified the substance as carbofuran, an illegal pesticide the use of which has been banned since 1991.
It is extremely concerning that this substance was found in a location which is accessible to the public. Anyone with further information about this incident should contact Police Scotland on 101.”
According to the Daily Record, ‘further enquiries were stopped after officers found no evidence to link the poison to any person or persons’.
There isn’t any explanation provided for why the public weren’t alerted to this discovery sooner.
As regular blog readers will know, Leadhills Estate is currently serving a three-year General Licence restriction, imposed in November 2019 following ‘clear evidence from Police Scotland that wildlife crimes had been committed on this estate’ (see here, here, and here). We know via FoI that one of the contributing factors to the decision to pull the GL was the discovery of the banned pesticide Carbosulfan in May 2019 (see here).
[Chris Packham holds a dead hen harrier whose leg was caught in an illegally-set trap on Leadhills Estate in May 2019. Photo by Ruth Tingay]
Since the General Licence restriction was imposed in late 2019, further alleged offences have been reported at Leadhills and are the subject of ongoing police investigations (see here) including the alleged shooting of a(nother) short-eared owl by a masked gunman on a quad bike as witnessed by a local resident and his eight year old son (see here).
And now the discovery of another batch of banned poison.
According to NatureScot’s Framework for GL Restrictions, ‘Individual restrictions will apply for a period of 3 years, but may be extended if evidence of further offences is obtained during this period’.
Let’s see whether NatureScot sees fit to extend the General Licence restriction at Leadhills Estate.