Gamekeeper from Appleby convicted of killing buzzards
A gamekeeper from Appleby has been convicted of killing two buzzards and possessing a quantity of an illegally-held poison, which experts believe would have been enough to destroy all birds of prey in Lincolnshire.
Robert William Hebblewhite, 71, was fined a total of £1,950 at Lincoln Magistrates' Court after he was convicted of killing two buzzards and possessing Carbofuran, a banned poison.
The buzzards were found dead on land at Blyton, where Hebblewhite works as a gamekeeper.
Toxicology tests revealed the birds had died from Carbofuran poisoning after the poison was laced on pheasant carcasses which the buzzards tried to feed on.
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District Judge John Stobard described Hebblewhite as an "old-fashioned" gamekeeper who resorted to "vicious" methods. The judge said he regretted the death of the two buzzards but added that it was "lucky" that no other creature or human had discovered the poisoned baits first.
Hebblewhite had pleaded guilty to possessing Carbofuran at an earlier hearing on October 15.
Mark Thomas, of the RSPB, said: "The possession and use of Carbofuran is illegal, and yet birds of prey are still being killed by this poison.
"This conviction shows this poison is still in circulation in quantities sufficient to kill huge numbers of birds of prey.
"A few grains of the poison will kill a bird of prey; a jar is enough to kill all the birds of prey in a county.
"With yet another gamekeeper convicted of poisoning birds of prey, it is time for this illegal and indiscriminate practise to be consigned to the pages of history."