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Nottinghamshire Gamekeeper sentenced for buzzard killings


A part-time gamekeeper has been fined and given a suspended sentence for trapping and killing birds of prey on the farm where he worked.

John Orrey (63), from Kneeton in Nottinghamshire, used a baited trap to capture two buzzards, supposedly as part of his role in protecting the farm’s game birds from pests. Instead of releasing the birds, which are protected by law, he beat them to death with agricultural tools. A member of the public noticed the trap (which had been baited with two dead stock doves - which are also protected by law) and reported his suspicions to the RSPB. RSPB investigators set up surveillance of the trap and captured footage of Orrey killing the buzzards. Searches of his property revealed breaches of Orrey’s firearms licence.

Orrey was charged with four wildlife offences and five firearms offences. He pleaded guilty to all nine offences at Nottingham Magistrates' Court on 24 December 2021 and on 28 January 2022 was given a 20-week prison sentence, suspended for a year, fined a total of £1000 and ordered to pay £180 compensation and £700 costs, including a £50 victim surcharge.

Emma Wakefield from the CPS said: “Wildlife legislation plays an important part in maintaining our environment. Birds of prey are known to have suffered persecution, which can lead to entire species becoming endangered. John Orrey’s actions showed complete disregard for the laws that protect our countryside, and he also used cruelty in the way he killed the birds.

“This prosecution began with a member of the public reporting their concerns and has ended with John Orrey facing the consequences of his actions. It is really important that anyone with concerns comes forward, so the appropriate action can be taken to enforce this legislation.”

John Orrey was sentenced for:

  • Using  trap to kill  or take a wild bird
  • Failing to comply with condition of shotgun certificate
  • Two charges of failing to comply with conditions of a firearm licence
  • Possessing ammunition for a firearm without a certificate
  • Possess an article capable of being used to commit a summary offence under section 1 to 13 or 15 to 17 Of the Wildlife & Countryside Act
  • Two charges of killing a Schedule 1 wild bird
  • Possessing live or dead Schedule 1 wild bird or parts, for possession of two dead stock doves, used as bait in the trap.

Notes to editors

  • Emma Wakefield is a Senior Crown Prosecutor from CPS East Midlands.

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