Caught on camera

Two part-time gamekeepers have been convicted for trying to kill birds of prey using a pole-trap – a barbaric device outlawed for over 100 years.  On 21 April 2011, Ivan Peter Crane and his son Ivan Mark Crane of Astley Grange Farm, East Langton, Leicestershire, appeared at Market Harborough Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty in relation to the use and possession of a pole-trap. They were fined £1,000 and £500 respectively and ordered to pay £80 costs. Crane (Snr) was also fined a further £2,000 in relation to the illegal and unsafe storage of pesticides on his farm.

The case started in August 2010 when RSPB Investigators located a set-pole trap at a pheasant pen on the farm. The trap consisted of a metal spring trap positioned on the corner post of the pen. Any bird or prey or owl landing on the post, an obvious vantage point, would have caused the jaws of the trap to spring shut trapping the bird and causing horrific injuries in the process.

A return visit was made to start a surveillance operation and the trap was found to be still present but had been unset. Following several days of RSPB surveillance, both men were filmed walking & driving the obvious illegal trap hanging on the corner post.

Leicestershire Police were contacted and a raid took place during which the trap was seized.Both men accepted rearing pheasants for shooting but initially denied any knowledge of the trap. Following the court outcome, RSPB Investigations Officer Guy Shorrock said: ‘These are barbaric devices and have no place in our countryside. This case again shows the value of RSPB surveillance evidence in bringing these people to justice.’

Illegal Killing of raptors still a major problem

It’s fair to say that most people appreciate and understand the value of species at the top of the food chain and why they’re important in a balanced environment. Yet despite nearly 50 years of legal protection, many birds of prey continue to be persecuted across the UK.

The golden eagle may be an iconic bird of Scotland, but historically it bred across much of northern England. Unless the spectre of persecution in the Scottish borders and the north of England is removed, they are likely to remain extinct as a nesting bird in England. Traditionally, golden eagles could be seen in the forests of Northumberland. However, for the first time in three decades they were absent. 

Persecution in the south-east of Scotland is limiting the species’ population growth in Scotland and preventing re-colonisation of northern England.

‘The situation with the hen harrier population continues to cause grave concern. Its failure to expand into eminently suitable habitat found throughout the northern uplands is now widely attributed to persecution

Illegal persecution across northern England is affecting the fortunes of a number of the region’s birds of prey, including hen harriers, goshawks, peregrines and red kites

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