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Pickering gamekeeper arrested over trapped buzzard
A PICKERING gamekeeper has been arrested for the illegal use of cage traps.
Police officers found a live buzzard inside a cage trap, located in a pheasant pen.
The buzzard was feeding on a dead pigeon and was successfully released from the trap and flew off unharmed. A second smaller cage trap was found nearby which contained a live pigeon.
Under the general licence, traps of this nature are designed to trap members of the crow family. However, they are sometimes illegally baited with pigeons in order to trap birds of prey.
A search warrant under Section 19 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, was conducted in partnership with Natural England. The search took place at the gamekeeper’s home address and business premises.
This is just the latest incident reported from the Ryedale area. In March a poisoned red kite was found near Cropton and subsequent police inquiries revealed that a dead goshawk had also been found in suspicious circumstances in the same area.
In May, a walker crossing moorland in Bransdale found a dead sparrowhawk. Subsequent investigations by a vet found that this bird had been shot.
In 2010, a dead goshawk was found in Bransdale and a post mortem revealed it had been both poisoned and shot.
The investigating officer, PC Stewart Ashton, said: “Police are receiving a growing amount of intelligence that raptors are being routinely shot, trapped and poisoned by gamekeepers, throughout the area.
“This is just the latest incident in what appears to be a persistent breaking of the law by a significant number of gamekeepers. This is a hidden crime that usually goes unreported. Sadly what we are seeing is just the tip of a very big ice berg.”
Due to the number of shooting estates, North Yorkshire has one of the highest number of reports of raptor persecution in the country.
In 2008, three gamekeepers from the Snilesworth Estate on the North York Moors pleaded guilty at Scarborough Magistrates Court to eight offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. These offences included using the same type of cage traps baited with pigeons that were found on this occasion.
Anyone with any information regarding wildlife persecution, should phone North Yorkshire Police on the non-emergency number, 101.