A gamekeeper has been cleared of illegally trapping a protected sparrowhawk at an Aberdeenshire estate after it emerged the Police gave an 'outright lie' as to why they were visiting the location.

Banff Sheriff Court heard that in August, 2020, the Police had received a tip-off from an RSPB informant that a sparrowhawk was beside a trap on Fyvie Estate, near Turriff. However, when the officers were approached and asked why they were on the estate to conduct their search, they told a gamekeeper and Fyvie Estate owner, Sir George Forbes-Leith, they were there to look for a missing person.

At the court case, Sheriff Robert McDonald said that as a result of the police officers telling an outright lie to two people, the evidence was now inadmissible. He said that the estate owner and the gamekeeper had some authority as to who came onto the land. Less than an hour into the trial, the sheriff acquitted Mr Lindsay (40), of North Haddo, Fyvie.

Police Scotland said it was reviewing the circumstances leading to the outcome of the case. The RSPB said more needed to be done to regulate the use of traps.