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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 July, 2003, 17:46 GMT 18:46 UK
'Callous' keeper sentenced
Alan Hetherington
Alan Hetherington: Injected pheasants as bait
A Devon gamekeeper who admitted poisoning wildlife has been sentenced to 240 hours community service.

Alan Hetherington appeared at Exeter magistrates court on Tuesday, after admitting using poisoned pheasants as bait to kill off badgers, foxes and birds of prey.

The case was described by investigators as one of the worst of its kind.

When the police, RSPB, RSPCA and Defra sent officials to land at Meadow View and Higher Barns near Tiverton last September, they found bottles containing poisons, some of which had recently been outlawed.

'Smell of decay'

They also found dead badgers, foxes and birds of prey.

Syringes were used to inject dead pheasants which were then put out to target predators such as badgers, foxes and birds of prey, including buzzards.

Pc Roy Adams from Devon and Cornwall police, who was there when the offences were discovered, said: "He was someone who was totally callous and selfish with a complete disregard for the environment.

"When we entered the site, all you could smell was death and decay and the total lifelessness of the forest without a single bird being heard."

Hetherington admitted six charges under the Food and Environment Protection Act, two charges under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and one under the Protection of Animals Act.

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