Glenn Brown seen in a still from the RSPB surveillance film

Glenn Brown seen in a still from the RSPB surveillance film

A gamekeeper who lost his appeal against convictions for illegal trapping of birds of prey faces further costs of £7,000.

Glenn Brown’s appeal against his conviction and sentence for seven offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and the Animal Welfare Act was dismissed today at Derby Crown Court.

Brown set a trap using a live pigeon inside a cage on the grouse-shooting estate on Howden Moors in the Peak District – land owned by the National Trust but leased to a third party.

He was convicted at Chesterfield Magistrates Court last June of using the pigeon to take birds of prey and the intentional taking of a sparrowhawk.

The gamekeeper was arrested by Derbyshire Police in May 2010 after a covert surveillance operation by an undercover team from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds on the land in the Upper Derwent Valley in the north of the Peak District national park.

Brown, 39, of Old Henry’s Schoolhouse, Derwent Valley, has been head gamekeeper on the estate since 1996.

He was ordered by magistrates to undertake 100 hours’ community service and pay costs of £10,000.

Judge Hilary Watson today ordered the gamekeeper to pay a further £7,000 costs.

Brown’s defence questioned the integrity of the RSPB investigation team, saying it had planted evidence to incriminate their client.

But Judge Watson declared the charity’s staff were credible witnesses.

Martin Harper, the RSPB’s conservation director, said: “We are delighted, but not surprised that the integrity and honesty of our investigations officers has been found to be beyond reproach after coming under forensic examination in this case.”

Mark Thomas, an investigations officer with the RSPB, added: “With so much evidence convicting Brown during the first trial, we are stunned that his defence felt comfortable mounting an appeal suggesting the RSPB had framed him.

“Bird of prey persecution remains a top wildlife crime priority in the UK, and it is one that we are determined to help the police reduce. The problem remains particularly severe in upland areas dominated by grouse shooting, where crimes have a direct impact on the conservation of some of our rarest birds of prey.

“With his appeal failing, Brown will now have to face the consequences for his crimes. Since 1990 there have been over 100 gamekeepers convicted of crimes relating to the despicable persecution of birds of prey.”

Mr Harper said: “Crimes such as these illustrate links between driven-grouse shooting and the illegal killing of birds of prey.

“This is why industry leaders and employers need to do more to stamp out these crimes. We believe that land managers and owners should be held legally accountable for any wildlife crimes that are committed by their staff, as is the case in Scotland.”

The RSPB is pressing for the introduction of vicarious liability for landowners in England and Wales. More than 7,000 have so far signed an e-petition urging a change in the law.

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