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Newlands Estate's membership suspended following buzzard killing

A buzzard was killed by a gamekeeper at the estate. Credit: PA

An estate in Dumfries and Galloway has had its membership of Wildlife Estates Scotland suspended, following the killing of a buzzard.

In a statement released today, Wildlife Estates Scotland said Newlands Estate's membership and accreditation has been voluntarily suspended:

Conditions of membership of Wildlife Estates Scotland include the requirements to maintain best practice standards of animal welfare and comply with all legal requirements and relevant Scottish codes of practice.

Wildlife Estates Scotland's position is that it will suspend membership if it is notified of a prosecution or of a breach of relevant legislation.

The case of William Dick has been discussed with Newlands Estate, whose membership and accreditation under WES has been voluntarily suspended and will remain so until after further enquiries and any other legal proceedings have concluded.”

– Wildlife Estates Scotland spokesperson

The suspension comes after a gamekeeper at the Estate, William Dick, was fined £2,000 for attacking and killing a buzzard.

Gamekeeper fined for 'sickeningly violent' buzzard killing

Mr Dick was fined for a "sickeningly violent" attack. Credit: PA

A Dumfriesshire gamekeeper has today been fined £2,000 for attacking and killing a buzzard.

William Dick had lodged an alibi defence that he had been in attendance at a training course over 100 miles away and would have been on his way home at the time of the offence.

However, he was convicted on 4 August 2015 of killing and having in his possession the bird of prey, on the Newlands Estate, Kirkmahoe, Dumfries in April 2014.

The court heard that two walkers saw Mr Dick with the buzzard hopping around at his feet in an unnatural manner.

They saw him throwing large rocks from above his head at the bird, and stamping on it.

He then placed a bundle wrapped in his jacket into his car, before driving away.

The witnesses contacted the Scottish SPCA, who in turn contacted Police Scotland.

One described the incident as "sickeningly violent".

Scottish SPCA and Police Scotland investigators found a dead hare, feathers and a rock with what they thought was blood on it at the scene.

The rock and feathers were examined by SASA in Edinburgh.

DNA from the feathers were confirmed as being from a buzzard. The carcass of the buzzard killed by the accused has not been recovered.

Birds of prey are given strict protection by our law.

It is highly important to preserve Scotland’s natural heritage, including the wildlife that forms part of it.

We take people breaking our wildlife laws very seriously. This conviction highlights that message.

The Crown will continue to prosecute such cases where appropriate to ensure that offenders are brought to justice.”

– Helen Nisbet, Serious and Organised Crime Division


Police warning after bird of prey dies of poisoning

A bird of prey found dead in the Scottish Borders had been poisoned, police said.

The buzzard was discovered by a member of the public close to Carcant Hill in the Herriot area on Sunday June 30.

The bird, which was in a badly decomposed state, was sent for forensic analysis.

It was initially confirmed that it had been shot with a shotgun pellet.

Further analysis confirmed the cause of death was the direct result of poisoning.

Potentially we are talking about baits laced with poison that have been laid out in the open countryside for this bird to feed on.

The use of poison is always of grave concern because it has the potential for indiscriminate contact beyond the birds illegally targeted and could therefore kill pets, other wildlife or anything else that may come into contact with it.

– PC Hannah Medley, Wildlife Crime Liaison Officer for Police Scotland.

Anyone with information should contact Police Scotland on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Newton Stewart man fined £4450 for bird poisoning

A 62-year-old gamekeeper from Dumfries and Galloway has been fined £4450 for poisoning a bird of prey and owning illegal pesticides.

A common buzzard died after it ate a pheasant carcass that Peter Bell, from Newton Stewart, had laced with the highly toxic pesticide carbofuran.

A common buzzard Credit: PA

Mr Bell left the bait in a field on Glasserton Home Farm near Whithorn on 23rd December 2012.

The illegal poisonous substances carbofuran, strychnine and alphachloralose were also found in his tool shed and home during a search in March.

Mr Bell pleaded guilty at Stranraer Sheriff Court to one charge of killing a wild bird and three of having illegal pesticides under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Craig Harris, wildlife and environment procurator fiscal, said:

"The killing of this buzzard was considered and deliberate criminality. The laying of bait laced with carbofuran was shockingly irresponsible conduct.

"It was compounded by the stocks of other illegal poisons that were kept.

"The law protects wild birds and those who seek to poison them, or continue to possess stocks of illegal poison, can fully expect to be brought before the courts."