The estate that Dorset Police refused to search after discovery of poisoned eagle is the same location where gamekeeper was today convicted of multiple raptor persecution crimes

After today’s court case, where gamekeeper Paul Allen was found guilty of seven wildlife, poisons and firearms offences, including the possession of six shot buzzards and banned poisons in March 2021 (here), it can now be revealed that the poisoned white-tailed eagle that was found dead on a Dorset estate in January 2022 was on the very same estate – the very same estate (the Shaftesbury Estate) that Dorset Police u-turned on their decision to search during their botched investigation into the poisoning of that eagle (see here).

Now, before I go any further, there are a few things that need to be clarified before anyone jumps to conclusions and makes libellous comments. Firstly, and importantly, there is NO EVIDENCE to indicate that the eagle was poisoned on the Shaftesbury Estate. The eagle was found dead there, yes, that is a statement of fact. However, we know from the eagle’s satellite tag data that in the days preceding its death it visited two or three other estates in the area. We also know that the poison that killed the eagle (Brodifacoum) is not a fast-acting poison and that this eagle’s health deteriorated over a number of days before it died. It is quite feasible that it picked up the bait elsewhere but succumbed to internal haemorrhaging once it had reached the Shaftesbury Estate.

On the same lines, it is also important to clarify that there is NO EVIDENCE that gamekeeper Paul Allen had any involvement in the poisoning of the white-tailed eagle. He just happened to work on the estate where the eagle was found dead. My understanding is that the shoot that Paul Allen worked on, although located on Shaftesbury Estate, was not directly associated with the estate; it was a privately-run shoot (perhaps tenanted) that was not under the management of Shaftesbury Estate.

What is up for discussion though, is Dorset Police’s decision NOT to search the Shaftesbury Estate as part of their investigation into the poisoning of that eagle in March 2022, when they were already acutely aware of the offences that gamekeeper Paul Allen had committed on the very same estate, a year earlier.

Dorset Police’s (now former) wildlife crime officer, Claire Dinsdale, had organised a search of the Shaftesbury Estate after the toxicology results came back on that eagle. She was absolutely right to do so, whether earlier offences had been committed there or not. It’s a no-brainer. This is policing for beginners. You find a poisoned eagle, you go and search the location where it was found to see if there’s any evidence to identify a potential perpetrator. That these other raptor persecution offences were already under investigation on the same estate just ramps up the justification for another search, surely?

Why Claire’s decision to undertake a search was overruled by senior officers, who then repeatedly said, for months afterwards, that their decision not to conduct a search was ‘proportionate’ and that ‘there weren’t any new leads’ to justify a search, just beggars belief. Their decision to u-turn on the search was made despite representations from the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) and the RSPB, based on the eagle’s satellite tag data and decades of experience investigating raptor persecution crimes. Something happened to cause the police u-turn. But what?

There is a strong stench of something sinister going on at Dorset Police HQ.

I’m certain that this latest revelation will lead to more questions being asked of Dorset Police, and from a much higher authority than this little blog.

Watch this space…

41 thoughts on “The estate that Dorset Police refused to search after discovery of poisoned eagle is the same location where gamekeeper was today convicted of multiple raptor persecution crimes”

  1. Wow… With this shocking and damning information Dorset Police’s actions surely must be either: a) incompetent or b) corrupt or a mixture of the two. This stinks to high hell. I’d like to hear what they have to say on the matter. Prepare for stonewalling…

    1. Police cannot be bothered with anything. They always say they are too busy!……..doing what I wonder? What exactly are they doing with their time? Everything is a tick box exercise. Politically correct and lazy, not as it was 40 years ago. It doesn’t matter whether it’s robbery, assault, burglary or wildlife crime. The UK has so much Case and Statute Law. Cannot be bothered in applying it.

  2. Unbelievable although sadly not really. Thank you Ruth and keep up the fantastic work making matters such as this public.

    1. There needs to be a new raptor persection bill .put up to parliament .
      Shoot, poisoned, raptors found dead any any estate
      The estate is liable.
      First offence keepers five years prison and a 10,000 pound fine .letting company shoot letting company 200,000 pound fine. 5year ban from operating on that estate.
      Estate owners 1.000,000 fine
      And 19 year ban from operating a shoot or sub letting any shootin to third parties.
      All shoots private or held have to be licenced
      2or 3rd offences loss of licence for 25years
      Owners of estate and the tennent companies c.e.o liable to 25 imprisonment its the only way tostop
      perscution

      1. “There needs to be a new raptor persection bill .put up to parliament .
        Shoot, poisoned, raptors found dead any any estate
        The estate is liable.”

        Completely untenable.

  3. I hope the fact the local MP vociferously indicated the police should not spend time investigating this is also given due examination !! It looks as if there’s a commonly held view circulating at certain levels within the Dorset “community”, not just within the Police !

  4. Simply jaw-dropping. It suggests a wilful determination NOT to carry out normal procedures and follow-up potential lines of inquiry which, whilst there is no evidence of corruption, certainly gives an unfortunate impression of it. It also flies in the face of the professional code of conduct to which the Dorset force subscribes which states that officers should not behave in a manner that undermines “public confidence” in the force. It’s hard to imagine a case where public confidence could be so wantonly undermined.

  5. Will the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation or Forestry England ever issue a complaint to the IOPC over the conduct of the aborted Dorset Police investigation into the death of G461? They are the principal injured parties, after all. Is there a better way forward?

  6. Absolutely disgusting. Although expected- all these ‘prosecutions’ and ‘investigations’ are laughable. When estates actually start to be closed down and people start getting £20,000 fines like they do in Spain, then bird persecution will go away. But nothing will happen if criminal gamekeepers and estate managers are allowed to continue wrecking the nature of an already nature-poor country. If there will ever be a government which cares about nature in the UK, they will have a mammoth task up ahead with fighting all these anti-raptor vermin

  7. You’ve suggested questions will be asked by a higher authority. In the interests of public confidence in Dorset Police, dealt a severe blow here, I hope the process is made public as soon as can be.

  8. He is now, officially, a criminal gamekeeper. Do we assume ex? What we shouldn’t forget is that he will have been earning a wage as an employee. And the police will know exactly who employed him. Although of course we can’t assume that they knew what he was doing.
    Can we?

  9. With the presented facts, it seems inconceivable that someone within Dorset police made the decision to cancel the planned searches following the discovery of the poisoned white tailed eagle.

    I think it is now important to establish who was involved with the Shaftesbury estate, and who was involved with shoot which was using the Shaftesbury estate at the time of the eagles death, and whether there was any association between members of the shoot, or the estate with Dorset Police, Mr Sidwick or Chris Loder. If so, did any association influence the way the police investigation was conducted?

    There needs to be a proper, thorough, transparent, impartial and independent investigation into exactly what has taken place, and why. As Keith suggests in an earlier comment this is really a matter for the IOPC.

  10. Wow, I havnt read this yet, but just the headlines!! This must have some mileage to it. A serious bit of investigative journalism perhaps, or is it already all out there?

  11. Police commissioners and Conservitive MP’s. Do you ever wonder if they like killing birds for fun…or if they are guests or members of formal shoots? How do we find out?

  12. Perhaps it’s time that farms/estates on which raptors are illegally destroyed should lose any agricultural subsidies. Might concentrate a few minds.

    1. I have long thought that those engaged in criminal activity should never be in receipt of money from the public purse.
      However, unless a landowner, tenant or one of their employees or agents is convicted of an offence, I would think it would be very difficult to remove any payments or subsidies.
      Hopefully this will be something that the Scottish government will consider in more detail when they introduce licensing for game bird shooting?
      It would be absolutely absurd to give out a rural payment or stewardship grant from the new ELMS to someone who is surreptitiously destroying or damaging nature.

      As a matter of interest I overlaid the DEFRA map which shows where in the countryside land is subject to countryside stewardship schemes or woodland schemes. It would appear that there are a number of such schemes in the part of Dorset where these incident have occurred. However, the DEFRA map does not show which landowner is partaking in these schemes.
      Hopefully no public money is being paid to anyone connected to the incidents mentioned in this blog?

  13. Please keep on this ,it breaks my heart to see birds killed like this.
    Don’t let the person at the top wash their hands of it.
    They just claim it’s nothing to do with me!

  14. This, most certainly, does not paint Dorset Police in a very good light. Far from it.
    The reasons that there was no search – instigated by DP’s former wildlife crime officer, Claire Dinsdale, after the toxicology results came back on that the eagle had been poisoned, and overruled by senior DP officers – needs to be answered fully.
    As you so rightly state Ruth, ‘There is a strong stench of something sinister going on at Dorset Police HQ’. And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the local MP has something to do with that as well, what with his comments made indicating the police should not waste time investigating this awful wildlife crime

  15. I’m sorry for my intermittent commenting on these matters. It is not that I don’t care, but there is only so much you can say about illegal raptor persecution by the shooting industry, and the insidious institutional corruption that facilitates and enables it. None of what I say is specifically about this incident. This facilitation ranges from deliberately weak laws and punishments, from the unwillingness of the authorities to investigate it properly. Let me give one example. It seems unlikely in the extreme that gamekeepers simply take it on themselves to perpetrate these crimes, and that they are at the very least encouraged and assisted in doing this. If the authorities treated other organized crime like this, they would never investigate the kingpins, but only the lowly minions committing noticeable crimes, and pretend the kingpins and organizations never existed.

    It is a deliberate charade of pretending that raptor persecution is illegal and disapproved of, but only intervening legally, if the authorities hand has been forced, and the gamekeeper or minion committing these crimes on behalf of others, has been particularly sloppy and incompetent with their crimes being noticed. It is absolutely no coincidence that driven shooting is the chosen hobby of some of the most powerful people in the country, the upper echelons of the establishment. That raptor persecution on this scale takes part, to facilitate their hobby. It would be extremely embarrassing to the very deferential system, if any of the great and good were implicated in this, so turning a blind eye becomes the order of the day. The laws are kept weak, lest some gamekeeper gets tempted to start naming names, upset at them having to carry the can for others. What I say is so obvious.

  16. Here is how they used to promote a happy days killing on the estate.

    I guess things may have changed since 2015…but familiar faces….

    1. I do believe that is xxxxx xxxxx ‘bigging up’ both the Shaftesbury Estate and Head Keeper Paul Allen in the commentary (also seen on screen). Lots of Pheasants and Red-legged Partridges to be seen being killed, as a ‘field sport’.

      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

      And people wonder why the illegal killing of raptors / annual burning of moorland hardly gets a mention on television news?

      1. Hi Keith, I’ve watched it twice and don’t notice xxxxx xxxxx in it myself. To my early morning eyes and ears it is Charlie Jacoby (driving force of that channel) throughout. It is certainly him doing the continuous voice over / commentary as he usually does in their videos. More interesting to me anyway, we learn the keeper had then done 29 years service (how much ‘vermin’ on the fire in that time I wonder?) back when it was filmed. He appears one of the quiet types of keeper as many are, but nevertheless an enthusiastic and key enabling part of this seedy bullshit-laden industry.

        1. “To my early morning eyes and ears it is Charlie Jacoby (driving force of that channel) throughout.”

          I do not think so. Similar voice, I agree, but not quite the same as on this video. Jacoby’s voice is slightly deeper.

          xxxxx xxxxx appears in the video at 16 seconds in, where the commentator says “I am here because…” and is shown sideways on, and then turns three-quarters towards the camera. That is, I believe, xxxxx xxxxx.

          1. Well, either way it makes no odds I suppose – the bigger point is this video and the one from the raid make excellent companions and should be viewed together, especially by anyone starting out as a Gun / punter in the world of driven game shooting. One or two with a conscience might even conclude that world isn’t for them, and stick to a bit of simple roughshooting and the like.

          2. As SM said. Defiantly not xxxxx! Little bit of home work before hand would of told you that and about the channel. If you have proper knowledge and have been round conservation and field sports any time you would know this and the Channel. Ruth knows it’s not xxxxx!? As she Mark and Chris have shared stage and screen with Charlie, (bird fair etc)debated with him and been on the channel. So why let it through? Was this just a way of having go at and dragging xxxx PM and C4 into it?

            Great little clip, despite reason for it being up. It’s also great it shows different generations of confidant women with passion and a voice taking part in field sports. . . . .

            Evidence and facts still matter!!

            [Ed: Steve, thanks for your comment. I haven’t watched the video until now, so no ulterior motive for letting the comment through, I just haven’t had the time to watch it. My mistake in letting the original comment stand without checking, apologies]

    2. An interesting video. For me, the most important part was the admission that Mr Allen was the head the keeper on the Shaftesbury estate.
      Was he still head keeper at the time the offences were committed?

      [Ed: It is believed Mr Allen was a former head keeper on Shaftesbury Estate but was not employed by the estate at the time these offences took place. I’ve deleted the rest of your comment, John]

  17. As an ex-copper of 30yrs this makes me sick to the stomach. Dorset police are not incompetent, so it must be the corruption at senior officer levels option that fits.

  18. Which senior officers are linked to xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx Shaftesbury Estate? When are investigatory powers going to be removed from the police and given to the RSPCA and SSPCA?
    Time and again the police evidence bias – not just with raptor persecution but with fox hunting and other wildlife crime.

    1. Dorset Police turn a blind eye to fox hunting even threatening the sabs they turn a blind eye to assaults abuse of the sabs.They also turn a blind eye to badger setts dug up so terrier s can get the fox.Theres even a police officer and family host and actively hunt.Time for the Senior officers of Dorset to be investigated I think.This Govtseem intent on ridding our Country of wildlife birds fish foxes deer ect ect.

  19. John, as far as I can see the Shaftesbury estate receives no CAP (or the new replacement UK Gov. funding post Brexit) payments directly. However, ‘St. Giles Farm Ltd.’ – described as a subsidiary of the Shaftesbury estate on their own website – has received over £400K in each
    of the last two years of available figures, namely 2020 & 2021.

    The subsidies are payed by the UK Rural Payments Agency (RPA) and the figures breakdown as follows:

    2020 – Total = £437547.98 which is broken down as ‘Direct European Agricultural Guarantee Fund’ = £343,321.06 and ‘Rural Development’ = £94,223.92.

    For 2021 – Total = £439,568.49 which is broken down as ‘Direct European Agricultural Guarantee Fund’ = £346,793.19 and ‘Rural Development’ = £92,775.30.

    Obviously the lion’s share is paid just for owning land (what ‘cost of living crisis’?!) but the ‘Rural development’ bit could be used for all manner of things and is opaque in the available spreadsheet data. To ascertain where all or part of the subsidies are spent would require FOI requests to the RPA. I’ve had a few battles over the years with the RPA regarding such data and it usually goes like this: first a refusal or a begrudging release of partial data. Then after an appeal the release of more data in a very difficult to digest form. It can be a time-consuming struggle but the data are there. I’m not sure though, post-Brexit, what the rules are for data release. I suppose one can only try…

    1. Stephen
      Thanks – that’s a lot of public money.
      As is often the case with these things business are made as opaque as possible so that it is not easy to see who are the main beneficiaries.
      My gut feeling is that public money is frequently disappearing into the countryside to help fund things that would anger many tax payers.
      It is a system which absolutely stinks, but all perfectly lawful because those with power and privilege are able to pull politicians strings to ensure their interests are well and truly looked after by ensuring appropriate legislation is passed by parliament.
      It makes me so angry that those same politicians can’t pass legislation to properly protect our native wildlife.
      It is so noticeable that we have a government which is quick to move to progress legislation which will hinder strike action because of an issue which has arisen in the last few months, but absolutely ignores all the evidence amassed over many years regarding the links between raptor persecution and game shooting.
      I really hope what has taken place in Dorset regarding the death of the white tailed eagle is properly unravelled, and if there are links between politicians, vested interests and interference in a police investigation, it receives maximum publicity, so that the outcry leads to meaningful change. But I won’t hold my breath!

  20. Bigger fines and prison for people found guilty of killing birds of prey its time all of this wes stopped any gamekeeper found guilty of killing birds of prey should never be allowed to work in that profession ever again

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