Another interesting case of alleged raptor persecution by a gamekeeper, Allen Lambert, appeared via Twitter this afternoon (see here). A fair catalogue of alleged crimes, charged with killing 16 wild birds, including 14 buzzards, one sparrowhawk and a tawny owl.
He is also accused of failure to comply with a firearms certificate,
possession of nine buzzards, and four counts of possession and storage
of banned poisons and pesticides.
A little rooting around on the internet and unless Stody Estate, Norfolk employs two keepers named Allen Lambert it would appear to be the same keeper as heralded in the 'prestigous' Field Sports magazine shoot review that can be read here. This gamekeeper charged with these alleged offences was employed by estate owner and former president of the Country Landowners Association and former trustee of The Game Conservancy ( now known as the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust) Ian Macnicol. A man at the very heart of the game and shooting industry. Since Macnicol's death his son Charlie is said to manage the estate.
Stody Estate as can be seen from the review is one of those estates that are constantly trumpeted by the GWCT and shooting press as examples of 'good shoots', virtuous and beneficial to local wildlife (especially the bits that can be shot). They have a High Level Stewardship Agreement with Natural England, presumably receiving much public funding as a result. Company records show that the estate has received £1.4m in EU Farm subsidies over the last 10 year period that figures are available for.
For me the simple introduction to Allen Lambert's bio in the Field Sports article is the most telling and revealing piece of information in this "Gamekeeper Allan Lambert joined Stody from nearby Foxley in 1990,
and quickly developed a good understanding with his new boss." Yet we will no doubt hear that this keeper employed on the estate for over 20 years was operating without the knowledge and complicity of the landowners, if CLA or the estate bother to comment at all.
If Lambert is found guilty it will highlight that raptor persecution continues to lie at the very heart of many game estates and pheasant shoots despite the best efforts of the shooting mafia to hide this from the public eye. It should also be a compelling piece of evidence if any was needed that the introduction of vicarious liability in England is something that is long overdue and badly needed.