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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 November, 2003, 12:13 GMT
Gamekeeper's poison conviction
A buzzard was found dead on the estate. Picture by Chris Gomersall/RSPB images
A gamekeeper has been fined 250 for illegally possessing poison, 11 gin traps and a wild buzzard's egg.

Ronald Allison, 66, was the only suspect when a buzzard was poisoned on Balmanno Estate in Perthshire.

At Perth Sheriff Court, Allison denied the charges against him but changed his plea midway through a trial.

Tayside Police's wildlife liaison officer Allan Stewart welcomed the conviction but said the fine could have been much higher.

The buzzard had been killed with the banned pesticide Carbofuran.

The court heard that there was no legitimate reason for a gamekeeper to have any Carbofuran.

Allison pleaded guilty to three charges. Others, relating to the killing of a crow and a buzzard and the poisoning of protected birds with Carbofuran on 15 March 2002, were dropped by the Crown.

Police reaction

Mr Stewart said: "The level of fine was pretty low.

"The reason these gin traps were banned was because they are a particularly cruel type of trap.

"There is no way they kill the animal instantly and if they are not checked then the animal, which is caught by its legs, would starve to death.

"Nearly every case where we respond to a poisoning allegation we encounter other breaches of legislation and that was the case here.

"Carbofuran is desperate stuff and that is the main poison used for illegally killing birds and mammals. It attacks the nervous system."

'Conviction more important'

Keith Morton, investigations officer with RSPB Scotland, said: "We're pleased to see yet another successful conclusion to an inquiry into a wildlife case.

"We're not unhappy with the level of the fine. Courts have to take into account people's means as declared at the time of conviction.

"At the end of the day, it's the fact of the conviction that's more important from our point of view."

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