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Wiltshire gamekeeper summoned to appear in court on raptor persecution charges

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Wiltshire gamekeeper summoned to appear in court on raptor persecution charges

Date of alert:

Crime Ref:


Sunday, 8 May 2022

Wiltshire Police

A Wiltshire man has been ordered to appear in court on charges in relation to having and killing wild raptor birds including red kites and buzzards.

21 year old Archie James Watson from the Pewsey area has been summoned to appear before Swindon Magistrates on the 25th May on six charges under the Wildlife and Country Act and three firearms offences.

Wiltshire Police think it could be the biggest case of its kind in England.

It follows a two year investigation called Operation Owl involving Police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the RSPB.

PC Marc Jackson of the Rural Crime Team said:

"This is the first case in Wiltshire to be run under Operation Owl since Wiltshire Police joined in 2020. Operation Owl addresses the issues of Raptor persecution across the UK.

“Wiltshire is known for its wonderful countryside, which is home to many species of birds – including protected birds of prey (also known as raptors) such as buzzards and red kites.

“Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act it is an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take wild birds. Nevertheless, birds of prey are still shot, poisoned and trapped and the Rural Crime Team receive several reports each year regarding suspected illegal killings.”

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