Investigative journalists from The Guardian newspaper have uncovered more evidence of alleged raptor persecution crimes, not previously reported, at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk.
They’ve also uncovered documents which reveal that the police have to seek the Queen’s permission before they are allowed to enter the estate and search for evidence if alleged wildlife crimes are suspected / have been reported.
Long-term blog readers will know that this royal estate has been at the centre of a number of police investigations into alleged raptor persecution, (e.g. see here, here, here, here, here), including the most notorious incident back in 2007 where witnesses observed two hen harriers being shot over Dersingham Bog at the same time that Prince Harry, his mate William van Cutsem (whose Hilborough Estate is currently under police investigation for alleged raptor persecution), and an estate gamekeeper were out duck-shooting. No-one was charged, as with all the other reported incidents except one in 2005, where an estate gamekeeper was convicted for pole-trapping a tawny owl next to a pheasant pen (see here, page 3).
However, it now appears that at least two other raptor persecution incidents on the estate have been kept under wraps for years – a poisoned red kite found in 2006 and a dead Marsh harrier (cause of death not given) found on the estate border in 2007 – according to documents published on Friday by The Guardian – the article is well worth a read, here.
Why has it taken 16 years for these raptor persecution incidents to become public knowledge? And given the timings, wouldn’t it have been pertinent for them to have been in the public domain at the time that Prince Harry, his ‘high society’ mate van Cutsem, along with an estate gamekeeper, were all under police investigation into the alleged shooting of two hen harriers in 2007?
It’s no wonder ‘nothing was found’ during the police investigation into those alleged shootings, given that the police weren’t allowed on site until the following morning.
And surprise, surprise, none of the investigating authorities want to comment on any of these latest revelations. Too scared and too obsequious.
There is a follow-up article in today’s Guardian (here), including quotes from me about these very shady processes that amount to what I would call a massive cover-up.
Well done to journalists Sev Carrell, Rob Evans and David Pegg for having the balls to challenge this nonsense.