Investigation & Surveillance

RSPB Investigation sends Scottish Gamekeeper to Prison

Most people associate conservation and nice countryside walks with RSPB reserves however, in their quest to preserve British birds of prey the RSPB have resorted to covert tactics primarily used by the Police or Military.

One such RSPB investigation resorted to setting up covert cameras to monitor traps, which were found in the woods of the Kildrummy Estate, Aberdeenshire in the area of pheasant breeding enclosures.

From these cameras the evidence was gathered which saw the accused remove a young Goshawk from a trap and dispatch it by clubbing it with a stick until the bird was dead.

George Mutch of Kildrummy was found guilty of four charges at Aberdeen Sherriff Court and sentenced to four years in prison. Mutch was found guilty of killing a Goshawk and illegally taking away a second goshawk and a buzzard.

A recent case at the Stody Estate in North Norfolk saw another gamekeeper sentenced to 10 weeks in prison suspended for one year for the illegal poisoning of 10 Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk.

A RSPB investigator found several dead birds of prey in woodland near by which aroused their suspicions to illegal poisoning taking place.

Had this offence taken place in Scotland the owners of the estate may have been prosecuted under a new law of vicarious liability for wildlife offences.

The Scottish Parliament’s Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011.  The WANE Act as it’s commonly known as was introduced on the 1st January 2012.
The RSPB overtly monitor many rare birds nest sites during the breeding season to prevent interference with nests or the theft of eggs but few people realise that they have a covert capability to facilitate investigations of alleged crimes.