Argyll Farmer Convicted of Possession of Carbofuran, but not for the poisoning of Glen Orchy Golden Eagle.




18 APRIL 2012


 Tom McKellar, aged 50, of Bridge of Orchy, Argyll today pled guilty to possession of the banned substance carbofuran. Sentence has been adjourned to 29 May 2012 for background reports.

Carbofuran is a highly toxic pesticide and a single grain the size of a poppy seed can kill a bird. A quarter teaspoon can be fatal to humans.
[singlepic id=80 w=576 h=420 float= centre]

two year old golden eagle found poisoned in Glen Orchy 2009,

no one so far has been brought to justice for this crime.

Following a search of his property by police on 17 June 2009, McKellar was found to have quantities of Carbofuran in three separate containers and traces of it within a syringe. When interviewed by police, he indicated that he had, in the past, placed it on meat for foxes to eat.

Speaking today, Kate Fleming, specialist wildlife prosecutor, said:
“The possession of Carbofuran is illegal. Its use as a poison can lead to the indiscriminate killing of wildlife. We take a very serious view of those who unlawfully maintain stocks of this substance. 
“As prosecutors, we are committed to ensuring the removal of Carbofuran from the countryside and we will work with all of our PAW partners to find the best way to achieve this.
“This case brought together the combined efforts of many members within PAW Scotland, including the police, RSPB, SSPCA, Forestry Commission Scotland and Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture. This multi-agency approach continues to strengthen the fight against all type of wildlife crime.”
Additional Notes:
1.       Tom McKellar previously pled guilty at the High Court in Glasgow on 5 November 2010 to four charges relating to the illegal possession of a Webley revolver and a Browning pistol recovered during the police enquiries on 17 June 2009. On 3 December 2010 he was sentenced to a Community Service Order of 300 hours.
2.       Products containing Carbofuran as an active ingredient were formerly used in the U.K. as insecticides to control agricultural pests in crops. Their use was restricted to farmers or contractors providing services to farmers for drilling into the ground. Approval for the use of Carbofuran was withdrawn in 2001 and its possession is now illegal in terms of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Section 15A and the Possession of Pesticides (Scotland) Order 2005/66, Article 2 and Schedule 1.
3.       Carbofuran is one of the most toxic pesticides. In the granular form a single grain the size of a poppy seed can kill a bird. A quarter teaspoon (1 millilitre) can be fatal to humans.
4.       Carbofuran poisoning has been identified as the cause of death in over 240 incidents submitted to the WIIS scheme in Scotland since 1988 (this system records incidents of specific chemicals to provide feedback for regulations). At least 95% of these incidents were attributed to the illegal abuse of a pesticide to poison non-target animals. The most frequent casualties were birds of prey, with the remainder comprising corvid species, cats and dogs. In the last decade, Carbofuran formulations appear to have become the poison of choice for individuals involved in illegal poisoning activities in Scotland.
5.       PAW Scotland is the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime in Scotland. PAW Scotland partners include a wide range of bodies committed to tackling wildlife crime including conservation, land management, shooting and law enforcement organisations.
6.       Photographs of the Carbofuran recovered will be made available by Crown Office on request. To obtain these photographs, please email your request to with the subject line ‘Tom McKellar Productions’

2 comments to Argyll Farmer Convicted of Possession of Carbofuran, but not for the poisoning of Glen Orchy Golden Eagle.

  • nirofo

    Lets PAW’s for thought here, you don’t really expect the police etc to prosecute somebody for killing a Golden Eagle do you, lets face it, that would be like turning round on the establishment, you know, the guys who set the laws in the first place and pull all the strings! Come on give us a break, the chief constable would have kittens if he thought his perks were in danger? No, better leave it to the RSPB, it’s well known that they are only interested in what’s in it for them, no point in upsetting the status quo is there. Who’s going to miss several hundred birds of prey a year anyway.

  • paul williams

    The Sheriff remarked he had “brilliant character references” Those references are for his white side, what about his DARK side.The side his referees know nothing about? When you learn of the illegal poisoning/killing in Scotland of over 20 Golden Eagles (at least) in the last decade with not a single successful prosecution, it makes you wonder who is protecting who?