Gamekeeper from Pickering Sentenced
5:20am 22nd February 2013
A North Yorkshire gamekeeper has pleaded guilty to the illegal use of cage traps and taking a live bird of prey.
Yesterday at Scarborough Magistrates, Shaun Allanson admitted to intentionally taking a buzzard with a cage trap baited with a live pigeon and operating a second cage trap also baited with a live pigeon. These offences took place at pheasant shooting estate Blansby Park near Pickering, say the RSPB.
He was sentenced to a 120 hour community order to do unpaid work.
The RSPB reported that on 28 August 2012, an officer from Natural England discovered a buzzard in a cage trap eating a pigeon. They add that the officer released the buzzard and informed the police.
As a result, say the RSPB North Yorkshire Police made a number of visits to the estate where they discovered a second cage trap baited with a live pigeon.
Allanson – from Pickering – was arrested by North Yorkshire Police in October. The RSPB, who were contacted by the police for advice, say they believe that the traps were being used to target goshawks, which have suffered from illegal persecution in North Yorkshire.
The RSPB add that although cage traps are legal in certain circumstances for predator control, it is unlawful both to use a pigeon as bait and to capture birds of prey.
Guy Shorrock, Senior RSPB Investigations Officer, said: “Mr Allanson has lost his job as a result of this conviction. We would like to see more shooting estates taking raptor persecution seriously and dismissing their staff when they are convicted of serious offences.”
Raptor persecution is one of the Government’s top six wildlife crime priorities, say the RSPB.
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