A father and son have avoided jail and been sentenced to unpaid work for selling peregrine falcons for £25,000 in the Scottish Borders.
Timothy Hall has been ordered to carry out 220 hours unpaid work and banned him from possessing or breeding birds of prey for five years.
His son Lewis Hall avoided a fine and was sentenced to 150 hours of unpaid work.
They were caught after a joint raid by Police Scotland and the Scottish SPCA on Hall’s home in Berwickshire in May 2021.
Timothy Hall, 48, pled guilty to acquiring for commercial purposes, keeping for sale and selling 15 wild peregrine falcon chicks.
Lewis Hall, 23, pled guilty to acquiring for commercial purposes, keeping for sale and selling wild peregrine falcon chicks.
Iain Batho, who leads on wildlife and environmental crime for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), said: “It is highly important to preserve Scotland’s natural heritage, including the wildlife that forms part of it. As such, birds of prey are given strict protection by our law.
"The sale of peregrine falcons has become an extremely lucrative business and Timothy and Lewis Hall took advantage of that for their own financial gain and to the detriment of the wild peregrine falcon population in the South of Scotland.
“Their illegal activities had the potential to have a devastating impact on the entire population of nesting peregrine falcons in that part of the country.
“The result in this case is a testament to the collaborative working between COPFS, Police Scotland, the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU), the Scottish SPCA and Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA).”
Detective Superintendent Bryan Burns said: “The sale of peregrine falcons has become an extremely lucrative business which Timothy and Lewis Hall exploited for their own financial gain.
“If their illegal activities had continued unchallenged, this would have had a massive impact on the population of young birds, and had the potential to wipe out the entire population of peregrine falcons in the south of Scotland.
“This case has been a monumental effort by Detective Constable Steven Irvine who led the investigation and was determined to bring the perpetrators to justice, going into meticulous detail to unravel the true extent of the criminality involved.
“These convictions would not have been possible without the incredible support from the partner agencies involved who all played a vital part in the investigation.”
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