Three injured hunting dogs seized in raid of six properties, including gamekeepers’ homes, on an estate near Edinburgh
A sporting estate near Edinburgh has been raided by police after a poisoned red kite and several alleged baits were found earlier this month.
Estate vehicles and six properties, including gamekeepers’ homes, were searched on Raeshaw estate, a well-known grouse moor in the Moorfoot hills near Peebles, after the red kite was found dead close by on a neighbouring estate.
It is understood that one bait believed to be laced with pesticide was found on Raeshaw during Wednesday’s raid, but no-one was arrested.
Three injured hunting dogs were also seized by the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA), on suspicion of involvement with badger baiting. The SSPCA has legal powers to investigate alleged animal cruelty cases in parallel with the police, and report their findings to prosecutors.
The search, by Lothian and Borders police, officials from the Scottish government’s rural payments division, the SSPCA, and the RSPB came after several dead buzzards and poisoned baits were found in the area earlier this year.
The police appealed for information, and said: “On Tuesday 2 June a red kite was found dead in the Scottish Borders, having been poisoned. As a result, a number of house searches have been carried out in the area.”
Mike Flynn, the SSPCA’s chief superintendent, said: “Our special investigations unit assisted the police in a search of an estate in the Borders in relation to an incident involving a poisoned red kite.
“As a result of that search the SSPCA subsequently seized several injured dogs. The SSPCA will be submitting a report to the procurator fiscal.”
The estate had no comment to make about the recent police operation.
Raeshaw was also raided five years ago after nine birds of prey, including five barn owls, two buzzards, a kestrel, and a tawny owl, had been found on the estate poisoned and shot.
Government scientists found the illegal pesticide carbofuran had been used, and said mink and rabbit were used as poisoned baits. There were no prosecutions.