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Wiltshire raptor persecution case: Archie Watson sentenced

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Wiltshire raptor persecution case: Archie Watson sentenced

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Thursday, 2 June 2022

Wiltshire Police

A Wiltshire farm gamekeeper has been sentenced for the possession of nine dead raptors.

In England’s largest raptor persecution case, Archie Watson, 21, of Dragon Lane, Manningford Bruce, Pewsey pleaded guilty to possession of dead birds - three red kites, five buzzards and a herring or black-backed gull - contrary to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

He denied killing the birds, which were found in a well following a warrant at the farm where he was employed as a gamekeeper.

Appearing before Swindon Magistrates’ Court yesterday (June 1), he also admitted to failing to comply with the condition of his firearms certificate, in relation to the correct storage of shotguns and ammunition.

Watson received a community order with 180 hours unpaid work and told to pay £393 costs and £95 surcharge.

The court heard how in August 2020, the RSPB passed evidence to Wiltshire Police of suspected persecution of wild birds at a farm in the Avebury area.

This led to an investigation by the police Rural Crime Team into a gamekeeper employed there and he was arrested in September 2020.

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