GAMEKEEPERS have called for an end to ‘trial by media’ over the case of a golden eagle that went missing near Edinburgh.

Their ire was aimed at BBC wildlife presenter Chris Packham, who last week issued a press release alleging that a satellite-tagged eagle, which had made its home in the Pentland Hills, had been illegally killed – and that its tag was later found to be signalling from the North Sea. On a video issued to the media, the presenter pointed the finger of blame at a neighbouring grouse moor.

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association responded by calling for an end to "unsubstantiated speculation" and for greater transparency over what actual evidence was available: “Trial by media has already taken place. Now everyone who has been drawn into this needs the truth as to what happened to this eagle.

“It is not enough for people to be implied as being criminals and those in possession of the satellite tag evidence to walk away, after presenting their judgement to the media, then say no one will probably ever know what has happened," said the gamekeepers' spokesperson.

“If the tags are as reliable as everyone has been told, then the tag data will surely provide conclusive evidence. Many questions need to be answered including why it could not be located in the sea, if it continued to transmit locational data for several days.

“There needs to be greater transparency because there are too many elements to the carefully stage-managed narrative which do not stack up, despite its presentation as a fait accompli," said the SGA. “If, by releasing this evidence, in full, to Police Scotland, it helps to bring this to a successful conclusion or prosecution, then the SGA and others would be satisfied that justice, as we have come to expect justice to look like, will have run its course."