The police investigation of alleged raptor persecution and associated wildlife crime at William van Cutsem’s Hilborough Estate in Norfolk is being kept in the public eye thanks to the Mail on Sunday (MOS).
However, instead of claiming that [Police] ‘Officers found no evidence of wrong-doing‘ [on van Cutsem’s estate] which is what the MOS published the previous weekend (here), this time they’re focusing on the ‘animal rights vigilantes’ who had secretly filmed the alleged offences on the estate and then passed on their footage to the police.
The full article can be read here.
It’s classic tabloid nonsense, designed to take the focus off the alleged offences and undermine the credibility of the people who discovered those alleged offences.
The article quotes ‘a source close to Mr van Cutsem‘ throughout, but conveniently doesn’t name that source. Quotes from this unidentified source include:
‘A source close to Mr van Cutsem condemned HIT as a vigilante group which had set up cameras on private land without his permission, saying there were questions about its relationship with police and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds‘.
‘William is baffled the police didn’t say anything or give him any information and he had to read about it [on their Twitter page],’ said the source.
‘What also is interesting is how close HIT works with the RSPB. It would be good to understand how a mainstream charity is working with a shady group. Police said nothing.’
‘The source added: ‘William doesn’t want to say anything else at this stage, but needless to say it’s bonkers that the first he finds out about details was not from the police but from the HIT story’.
‘The same weekend this happened, a neighbouring estate had four traps vandalised and a buzzard was found in another one, which was then released by the estate owner.
‘These were all reported to the police. I’m also surprised the RSPB, who attended the raid, seem to be getting information from a group with a long history of shady entrapments.‘
Interesting then that ‘the source’ didn’t apparently raise any concerns about what had been filmed, just who had filmed it and whether they had permission to do so.
This sort of commentary is a tried and tested routine, and one we’ve seen over and over again from the likes of You Forgot the Birds and C4PMC, even down to the slagging off of the RSPB. This is not quality journalism, it’s just laughable bollocks, designed to deflect attention from the alleged crimes filmed on this estate.
I particularly enjoyed the MOS’s sub-heading in this article:
‘They [that’ll be the so-called vigilantes] released a video purporting to show a Goshawk stuck in a trap on the estate‘.
Er, I think it was a bit more than showing ‘a goshawk stuck in a trap’! What the video actually showed was a masked man removing a goshawk from an illegally-set trap (baited with live pigeons) purportedly filmed on van Cutsem’s estate. The man was then filmed carrying the goshawk away, which is also an offence under the Wildlife & Countryside Act (the goshawk should have been immediately released).
Thanks for the laugh, MOS, and especially for the crap reporting which will just draw this police investigation to the attention of an even larger audience.
I look forward to reading an update from Norfolk Police in due course.