Dorset gamekeeper sentenced for raptor killings


Dorset gamekeeper Paul Allen has received a 15-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and a £2,022 fine after pleading guilty to the possession of banned poisons and six dead Common Buzzards.

After the discovery of a dead Red Kite with nine times the lethal level of brodifacoum, the strongest rat killer on the market, a multi-agency search of the Shaftsbury Estate, Dorset, took place in March 2021.

Six shot Common Buzzards were found on the Shaftsbury Estate (RSPB).

Brodifacoum was found on site, along with banned poisons and the six dead buzzards, all of which were shown to have been shot, in post-mortem examinations. An immature White-tailed Eagle was found at the same location 10 months later, the bird containing seven times the lethal dose of brodifacoum, but the investigation was halted before a follow-up search could take place. This was despite the police being aware that brodifacoum had previously been found nearby.

Tagging data showed that the eagle had visited three Dorset estates just prior to its death, so it is not known where the poison was ingested.

Currently, brodifacoum should only be used around buildings. The RSPB has written to the Health and Safety Executive, urging review of the usage of the product.