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RSPB Officer: Bird poisoning 'one of worst cases I have ever dealt with'

Allen Lambert

A 65-year-old north Norfolk gamekeeper has been given a suspended prison sentence for seven wildlife offences.

Allen Lambert, of Stody, Melton Constable, appeared before Norwich Magistrates Court charged with the killing of 12 wild birds including 11 Buzzards and one Sparrowhawk and possession and storage of banned poisons and pesticides including Mevinphos and Aldicarb.

He was also charged with failing to comply with a firearms certificate, possession of nine dead Buzzards and three counts of contravening the plant protection regulations by using products which contained Mevinphos and Aldicarb - offences which he pleaded guilty to at a previous appearance in December 2013.

An investigation was launched in April 2013 by Norfolk Constabulary, assisted by the National Wildlife Crime Unit, Natural England and the RSPB, when quantities of unlawfully held pesticides along with a number of dead buzzards were discovered on the Stody Estate.

Some of the dead birds Credit: RSPB

In sentencing Judge Peter Veits said: "It is clear to me that such deliberate poisoning of birds of prey deserves custody the issue is therefore whether that should be immediate or suspended."

He added: "as a result of this prosecution, he has lost his employment, although his employers allowed him to take early retirement, and as a consequence lost his home and his good name."

The sentence has been welcomed by those involved in the case.

Lambert has shown a total disregard for the laws surrounding the protection of wildlife and possession of banned poisons and pesticides. Norfolk Constabulary will not tolerate such behaviour, which affects many of us who live and work in the county.

– DC Richard Moden, Norfolk Police

Lambert, a gamekeeper on the estate, was arrested and later charged on Wednesday 4 December 2013 with the seven wildlife offences commitment between 1 January and 4 April 2013.

This case has been significant because of the number of birds of prey found poisoned which, together with the lax attitude to firearms security, has exposed an ingrained blasé attitude to lethal chemicals and weapons.

– Alan Roberts, Investigative Support Officer for the National Wildlife Crime Unit

I’ve been investigating wildlife crime for over 20 years and this is one of the worst cases I have dealt with. Finding the carcasses of nine poisoned buzzards in a bag at Lambert’s home was truly dreadful. Unfortunately, this is part of a wider national problem and we are calling on the government to bring in stronger legislation to make sporting estates more accountable for the actions of their staff.

– Guy Shorrock, a Senior Investigations Officer with the RSPB