Game-shooting industry’s response to sentencing of Dorset gamekeeper Paul Allen

Further to last week’s blog about criminal gamekeeper Paul Allen’s sentencing for committing multiple wildlife, poisons and firearms offences on the Shaftesbury Estate in Dorset (here), here is a round-up of responses from the organisations within the game-shooting industry who also serve on the Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group (RPPDG), whose main objective is to raise awareness amongst the organisations’ members about illegal raptor persecution and prevent these crimes from happening:

Convicted gamekeeper Paul Allen. Photo: BNPS

National Gamekeepers Association: The previous statement published by the National Gamekeepers Organisation (NGO), after Allen had pleaded guilty at a hearing in January, was so cryptic that the casual visitor to the NGO website wouldn’t have known it related to Allen and his crimes (see here).

So it’s pleasing to see that this time the NGO has published a statement acknowledging that criminal gamekeeper Paul Allen is an NGO member and that he has now been expelled. The following statement has prominent billing on the NGO’s website:

Expulsion from membership is good, and I applaud the NGO for publicising this action, although in reality it has no bearing whatsoever on Allen’s ability to continue working as a gamekeeper. Although often described by the shooting industry as a ‘profession’, gamekeeping isn’t regulated in the same way as I what I understand to be an actual ‘profession’.

For example, in many other (actual) professions, you’d be disbarred/struck off from practicing if convicted of an offence, especially an offence commissioned whilst undertaking your ‘professional’ duties. Not so for gamekeeping – you can be chucked out of one of the membership clubs but you can still ‘practice’/be employed as a gamekeeper even with a criminal conviction. We’ve seen this happen on many occasions, where a convicted gamekeeper has simply moved to another estate and carried on as though nothing has happened.

I note that the NGO’s statement on Allen has not been publicised on the NGO’s Twitter or Facebook accounts, only on its website.

British Association for Shooting & Conservation: BASC didn’t bother to publish any statement after Allen’s criminal conviction back in January, but it has done now he’s been sentenced, which is progress. The following statement has prominent billing on the BASC website:

As with the NGO’s statement, it’s good to see that BASC also hasn’t tried to be cryptic as its statement is clearly linked to Paul Allen’s crimes, conviction and sentencing.

Predictably, there’s a considerable amount of damage limitation included in the statement, talking about the so-called ‘minority who engage in this criminal behaviour‘ and maintaining that the shooting industry ‘works hard to support sustainable shooting‘ (er, the importation & release of 60+ million non-native gamebirds every year cannot possibly be described as ‘sustainable’!) but at least it’s published something in recognition of Allen’s crimes. Although, as with the NGO, I note that BASC’s statement on Allen has not been publicised on the BASC Twitter or Facebook accounts, only on its website.

COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE: Remains silent on Allen’s crimes, conviction and sentencing. No surprise.

COUNTRY LAND & BUSINESS ASSOCIATION (CLA): Remains silent on Allen’s crimes, conviction and sentencing.

I’ll blog shortly about responses to Allen’s sentencing from Dorset Police and Natural England.

6 thoughts on “Game-shooting industry’s response to sentencing of Dorset gamekeeper Paul Allen”

  1. There were a number of comments last week about whether this evil person had his gun license revoked. Am I right in thinking that gun licenses are dealt with by the police not the courts, so would not figure in any sentencing? Along with most followers on here, I am of the belief that such low lifes who are convicted should automatically be disqualified for life from holding any kind of gun licence. Would it be possible to ask questions of the police force to get clarification on this matter?

    1. My suggestion is that some person or organisation with the clout to attract attention, and having the ability to publicise wildly any negative response, should be asking the CC that question. Perhaps the RSPB in common with other like-minded organisations may think about it?

    2. No, the courts have the power on conviction to cancel or forfeit and firearms or shotgun certificate held by the convicted person (Firearms Act 1968 (s52 (1))

    3. “Am I right in thinking that gun licenses are dealt with by the police not the courts, so would not figure in any sentencing”

      The answer may be both. See here:


      As usual, the law on firearms in England and Wales has long been developed in favour of hunting:

      Home Office Guide of Firearms Licensing Law, November 2022: you can legally ‘borrow’ a gun – without having a licence yourself – if you intend to kill animals, game or vermin only.


      “Authorised lending and possession of firearms for hunting etc

      6.18 Section 11A of the 1968 Act allows a non-certificate holder (‘the borrower’) to
      borrow and possess a rifle or a shot gun from another person (‘the lender’) on
      private premises lawfully, only if they meet the following four conditions and if, in
      the case of a rifle, the borrower is aged 17 or over:

      (i) That the borrowing and possession of the rifle or shot gun are for either hunting
      animals or shooting game or vermin, and/or for shooting at artificial targets…”

  2. When will the UK judiciary get their act together?? We hear all the talk about the prosecuting perpetrators of Wildlife crime to the letter of the Law, yet the heinous crimes detailed above attract a pitiful punishment. I would draw members attention to an article on Vulture Conservation Foundation where a Cypriot individual, found guilty of poisoning 2 Bonelli’s Eagle & a European Goshawk, was fined 21,000.00 Euros.

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