Donside gamekeeper jailed for bird killing

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A Donside gamekeeper has been jailed for four months after being found guilty of killing and injurying protected birds of prey.

George Mutch, 48, was a gamekeeper on Kildrummy Estate when he was secretly filmed catching raptors in two bird traps in 2012.

Sheriff Noel McPartlin sentenced Mutch to four months in jail at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on January 12.

Superintendent George MacDonald gave a statement on behalf of Police Scotland. He said: “I do not believe his actions and behaviour reflect the vast majority involved in the various forms of countryside management, most of whom understand the clear lines that should not be crossed in terms of criminal persecution of wildlife.

“Wildlife Crime is a priority within a number of communities across Aberdeenshire and Moray.”

Mr Mutch was caught catching the birds by hidden camera set up by the RSPB as part scientific research into how traps were being used on the land.

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SCA) said it had taken the ultimate sanction available to it, as an organisation. A spokesperson said: “Mr Mutch will no longer hold SGA membership.

“The court has made its decision and Mr Mutch will now have to live with the consequences of his actions.”

A spokesman for Scottish Land & Estates said: “The illegal killing of any bird of prey is unacceptable and anyone who engages in such activity can, rightly, expect to feel the full weight of the law. There are many people and groups working together to eradicate wildlife crime.”