SRSG deeply concerned about police failure to attend a suspected poisoning incident

7 April 2014

The Scottish Raptor Study Group is deeply concerned about the reported failure of both Police Scotland and the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) to attend the scene of a suspected raptor poisoning incident in South Lanarkshire.
According to the Raptor Persecution Scotland website, a member of the public found a dead peregrine in suspicious circumstances close to the boundary of Leadhills Estate, near Abington, in February. The finder immediately called the police but was told it was not a police matter. The RSPB was then called, and they contacted the NWCU to ask for a police presence at the scene. PC Charles Everitt of NWCU is alleged to have told the RSPB that it wasn’t a police matter as there was no evidence of a crime.
The RSPB attended the scene and collected the dead bird. Government tests later showed it had been poisoned with the banned pesticide Carbofuran.
Ronnie Graham, one of a number of local Raptor Study Group fieldworkers who monitor raptor breeding success in the area said: “I’m absolutely appalled. Raptor persecution in this particular area has been ongoing for decades. Over the years, countless poisoned baits have been found here and only last year a large cache of Carbofuran-laced baits was discovered very close to where this dead peregrine was found. Poisoning should have been immediately suspected in this incident and the area should have been flooded with officers looking for baits. My colleagues and I would like to know why Police Scotland and the NWCU didn’t think this was a police matter – we were under the impression that wildlife crime was supposed to be a police priority”.
The SRSG will be asking Police Scotland and the NWCU for an explanation about the failed police response to this serious crime.