Scottish shooting estate welcomes wildlife police

One of Strathclyde Police’s wildlife crime officers has teamed up with an Ayrshire gamekeeper as part of an initiative to promote better understanding between police and the shooting community.

The Netherwood Estate Shoot in Muirkirk hosted a two day visit so Constable Craig Borthwick could find out more about the challenges faced by gamekeepers.

Constable Borthwick said: “The visit was a real eye-opener. Gamekeepers are hard-pushed to meet all the demands placed on them, very often due to a lack of staff. They also face being the victims of rural crime such as poaching, theft of all terrain vehicles and vandalism of the traps they need to manage pests and predators”.

Netherwood Estate Shoot head gamekeeper, Dave Milestone, said: “The idea of welcoming the police onto the estate came from an initiative led by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation which aims to promote best practice throughout all aspects of shooting and particularly gamekeeping.”

“It was also important to us to get across that the responsible shooting community has nothing to hide, in fact we welcome building better relations with the police as it can aid us in our own work. We have extended our invitation to include all of Strathclyde Police’s wildlife crime officers”.

Colin Shedden, Director of BASC Scotland, said: “We are pleased that this initiative has been such a success. We have been concerned for a number of years about the apparently difficult relationship between shooting interests and those investigating allegations of wildlife crime. It’s time to break down those barriers and work together for the good of the Scottish countryside and economy.”

NOTES FOR EDITORS

• The visit came ahead of the publication of a report on the findings of a thematic review of the prevention, investigation and prosecution of wildlife crime in Scotland on Wednesday 16 April. The report is expected to highlight the need for partnership working as part of a best practice approach to wildlife crime.

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