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North Yorkshire gamekeeper guilty of bird of prey persecution

Last modified: 22 February 2013

Buzzard landing on ground

Shaun Allanson admitted to intentionally taking a buzzard with a cage trap baited with a live pigeon.

Image: Steve Round

A North Yorkshire gamekeeper has pleaded guilty to the illegal use of cage traps and taking a live bird of prey.

On 21 February, 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.

He was sentenced to a 120 hour community order to do unpaid work.

On 28 August 2012, an officer from Natural England discovered a buzzard in a cage trap eating a pigeon. The officer released the buzzard and informed the police.

As a result, 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, believe that the traps were being used to target goshawks, which have suffered from illegal persecution in North Yorkshire.

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.

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Persecution is still causing the deaths of hundreds of birds of prey every year. A donation to our appeal will help us put these awe-inspiring birds back in the skies where they belong.

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