Anger over bird poisoner's £850 fine

THE head gamekeeper on a sporting estate, who faced potential penalties of more than £500,000 for poisoning a rare raven and illegally possessing 118 common gull eggs, was fined £850 yesterday.

The punishment prompted anger from conservationists, who said it would do nothing to help threatened bird species.

Hector McNeil, 56, of Whitehillock, Glenbuchat, had previously admitted three charges under the Wildlife and Countryside Act at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He could have faced a fine of 5,000 for each of the eggs he illegally possessed. But Sheriff Alexander Jessop fined him a total of 400 for the illegal possession of the eggs, 350 for poisoning the raven and a gull, and 100 for possessing the banned substance Cymag.

Sheriff Jessop told McNeil he appreciated that his job was to try to preserve the jobs on the North Glenbuchat estate while also preserving the rare species of birds on the land.

But Elsie Ashworth, of the RSPB, said: "We are very disappointed. To fine somebody only 350 for placing poisoned baits, casually and indiscriminately, on a hillside is unlikely to act as a deterrent."