The Scottish SPCA have described the killing of protected animals at an estate in the Scottish Borders as "truly shocking".

Gamekeeper Alan Wilson, 61, today pleaded guilty to nine offences which took place at the Longformacus Estate close to Duns.

Police inquiries began two years ago when a member of the public found a dead goshawk. Subsequent searches lead to the recovery of bodies of other animals, including various birds of prey, three badgers and an otter.

Detective Constable Andy Loughlin who lead the police inquiry said:

This has been a complex inquiry that has amounted to a large-scale police investigation spanning the past couple of years. We have worked with experts in the field to secure Wilson’s conviction and I would like to thank our colleagues from the Scottish SPCA, RSPB Scotland, veterinary pathologists at the Scottish Agricultural College, government specialists at SASA, and independent experts, for all their assistance.

Detective Constable Andy Loughlin

Wilson, who also pleaded guilty to possession of the illegal pesticide Carbofuran, was sentenced to a 225 hours Community Payback Order at Jedburgh Sheriff Court.

Wilson was gamekeeper at the Longformacus Estate close to Duns. Credit: ITV Border

This is a despicable case of serious and systematic crimes to indiscriminately remove wildlife from an estate. The sheer volume of dead wildlife discovered is truly shocking. Some of the equipment in Mr. Wilson’s possession has been unlawful for decades yet it was evident it had been recently used to trap wild animals. The illegally set snares across the estate he was managing would have trapped wild animals indiscriminately and the remains discovered were proof of that. This amounted to large-scale eradication of wildlife. We will never know the total number of animals which perished due to Mr. Wilson, though had it not been for the robust intervention of Police Scotland, the Scottish SPCA and our other partner agencies, many more would have suffered and perished.

Scottish SPCA Investigator

The police urge people to report any suspicions of this type of criminal activity to them via 101.