BORDERS GAMEKEEPER Alan Wilson has been sentenced to 225 hours 'Community Payback' by Jedburgh Sheriff Court, after being found guilty of an array of offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, including the illegal killing of protected species.

Mr Wilson, who worked on the Longformacus Estate close to Duns, has been the subject of a multi-agency police led operation for the past two years. Police in the area received information from a member of the public that a dead goshawk had been found on the estate in May 2017, with a subsequent search of a nearby woodland leading to the recovery of further dead birds of prey, three badgers and an otter.

As a result of that investigation, the now 61-year-old was arrested and charged in July 2018 and plead guilty to nine offences at Jedburgh Sheriff Court on July 22, 2019. His offences also included being in possession of two bottles of illegal pesticide, carbofuran.

Detective Constable Andy Loughlin who led the police inquiries said: “This has been a complex inquiry that has amounted to a large-scale police investigation spanning the past couple of years.

“We have worked with experts in the field to secure Wilson’s conviction and I would like to thank our colleagues from the Scottish SPCA, RSPB Scotland, veterinary pathologists at the Scottish Agricultural College, government specialists at SASA, and independent experts, for all their assistance.”

Commenting on the case, an undercover Scottish SPCA investigator said: “This is a despicable case of serious and systematic crimes to indiscriminately remove wildlife from an estate. The sheer volume of dead wildlife discovered is truly shocking.

“The successful prosecution of Mr. Wilson sees some form of justice served, and the Scottish SPCA’s special investigations unit were happy to lend our expertise on wildlife crime to support this multi-agency effort. This level of cooperation is vital to catching people who are committing these specialist, brutal crimes."

Dr Lucy Webster, a wildlife forensic scientist at SASA said: “This investigation has made good use of forensic evidence to fully illustrate the range of offences committed. It is an excellent example of the benefits of partnership working to bring a prolific wildlife criminal to justice.”

DC Loughlin continued: “The illegal killing of birds of prey and protected species cannot, and will not, be tolerated, nor will the inhumane use of illegal traps and pesticides. Whenever such offences are reported to us we will work closely with partners to identify those responsible and ensure they are brought before the courts. If you have concerns regarding this type of criminal activity in your area, please report it to us via 101 so that we can investigate thoroughly.”

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association issued the following statement: “The actions, in this case, are a gross breach of our organisation’s wildlife crime policy. They reflect negatively on the reputation of the entire profession, are unacceptable and entirely out of step with what we expect of our members’ conduct. We will be terminating the individual’s membership of the SGA with immediate effect.”