Secret filming catches Wiltshire gamekeeper dumping dead wild birds in well

Archie Watson disposing of dead wild bird in the well. Credit: RSPB/CPS

A Wiltshire gamekeeper has been sentenced after secret filming caught him dumping dead buzzards, red kites and a herring gull on the farm where he worked.

Archie Watson pleaded guilty to illegally possessing dead birds of prey after the animals were found in a well in Beckhampton.

The 21-year-old admitted three charges of possessing non-schedule one birds. The charges related to five dead buzzards, three red kites, one herring.

  • Footage shows man dumping birds after gunfire heard

He also admitted three counts of failing to comply with a firearm certificate after a loaded shotgun was discovered on the seat of his unlocked vehicle.

When his home was searched, several firearms were found unlocked and next to unsecured ammunition.

The 21-year-old was handed a 12-month community order at Swindon Magistrates Court today (1 June). He was also ordered to carry out 180 hours unpaid work, and must pay the Fairtrade Access Fund £288.

CPS Wessex Senior Crown Prosecutor Angharad Thomas said: “This is one of the largest prosecutions of someone being in possession of dead wild birds.

This loaded shotgun was found in Watson's unlocked car Credit: CPS

“Every wild bird is protected by law and it is an offence to even be in possession of one, dead or alive.

“A huge effort has gone into growing the red kite population in the UK, so to find three of them dead in that area is alarming and will have an impact on the success of this protected species.

“The CPS takes wildlife offences very seriously and will prosecute whenever our legal test is met.”