Police Scotland has finally confirmed that three dead buzzards found in bags on Millden Estate had been shot with a shotgun.
The corpses were discovered during the joint SSPCA/Police Scotland raid on Millden Estate in October 2019 in relation to wildlife crimes committed by depraved gamekeeper Rhys Owen Davies, who was recently sentenced to jail for his role in a hideous gang of animal abusers (see here).
However, the discovery of the dead buzzards was not made public and I spent two and a half years trying to get an update from Police Scotland about the status of the investigation. At the end of the 2.5 years, I was told that I’d have to speak to the Crown Office, which I did in July 2022, and the Crown Office confirmed there were no prosecutions on the table for these crimes, and it also carefully avoided providing any specific details about the dead raptors (see here).
[An illegally shot buzzard. Not one of the ones found on Millden Estate]
Thanks to a blog reader, an FoI request was submitted to Police Scotland in July 2022 to ask for details of the shot buzzards. Here is Police Scotland’s response:
The fact there won’t be a prosecution for these three shot buzzards won’t be a surprise to anybody who has followed these sort of wildlife crime investigations for any length of time. The police can’t prove who shot the buzzards and dumped them in bags – I wonder whether any forensic work was undertaken?
Nevertheless, I hope that now we have police confirmation that the buzzards had been shot, paperwork will have been passed by the police to NatureScot to allow NatureScot to consider imposing a General Licence restriction on this Angus Glens estate – long overdue in my opinion, especially when you know what else has been uncovered on Millden Estate over many, many years.
9 thoughts on “3 shot buzzards found on Millden Estate – confirmation from Police Scotland”
Surely there is a “common purpose” or some sort of conspiracy law that could be used to [Ed: rest of comment deleted as libellous]
I wonder…..if an estate is under “special licence restrictions” when the Scottish Government finally get round to introducing a sporting estate licencing system…will they be allowed a licence to operate? Will it simply be a yellow card? Will the chaps get round the table with a bottle of port and “clean the sheet”?
Will anything ever happen?
No surprise here then. Millden was never a lily white estate but things appeared to get a lot worse when Vivien Duffield sold the estate to Richard Hanson, a London-based private equity fund manager.
“CKD Galbraith, the property agents behind the estate, say no sporting estate has ever been offered for sale in Scotland in such a good condition “for many years”.
They describe it as “one of the finest” in the world.
A spokesman said: “This is one of the world’s finest shooting estates and there has been exceptional investment made by its current owner over several years.”
as reported by the Herald in 2001.
Andy Wightman had a very different take on Millden Estate and in and in October 2019 he tweeted
Millden Estate is not Scotland’s most prestigious shooting estate. It is an environmental disaster zone managed in a way that should be illegal. Roads, electric fences and other infrastructure has been constructed with no public or regulatory oversight including this road along the route of the ancient medieval Firmounth. Along with the extensive network of roads and blasted vegetation are concrete & stone “grouse butts” behind which shooters stand to kill the grouse. It is time to end once and for all the practice of driven grouse shooting. Unfortunately, Scottish Government Ministers (most notably Fergus Ewing pictured here with Angus Glen gamekeepers) extoll its virtue.
I’ve many stories I can tell about it as I lived adjacant to it for a number of years and became very aware of the manner in which it wielded it’s power locally and the fealty it appeared to demand from some.
Anyone found with e.g. stolen goods on their property, even if it couldn’t be proved that they actually stole them,would be charged with ‘handling stolen goods’, I think. Is there nothing that can relate to this situation?
Its a very sad situation, must be the very few that have been discovered dead, expect the worst and that will be about right
I received the same reply to my FOI request . Not happy with the off hand reply and that no further action was taken . I spoke to my MSP ( Graeme Dey . Angus South ) today and he agrees that Millden is a highly suspect estate that needs to get its act together . Now it finds itself in the headlights of various bodies who will jump at any chance to undermine its credibility . Here`s hoping it will come unstuck !
The dynamic of any institution is set at the top. Would that be Richard Hanson?
I would agree that obtaining a prosecution in these circumstances is nigh on impossible, but surely during an investigation everyone with a shotgun licence in the estate would be a suspect? In which case would somebody treated as a suspect in an active investigation be able to keep their licence? A suspension of firearms licences across the whole estate may be an additional deterrent through peer pressure. Might this be worth exploring with wildlife crime officers? Potential for some second thoughts before casually blasting a raptor out of the sky if it’s going to affect your boss and all of your colleagues.