Licences are to be restricted on the Leadhills Estate

SNH and Police Scotland have been concerned about the volume of wildlife crime. Photo: RSPB
SNH and Police Scotland have been concerned about the volume of wildlife crime. Photo: RSPB

Scottish Natural Heritage and Police Scotland have taken action on wildlife crime taking place on the Leadhills Estate in South Lanarkshire by restricting the use of general licences available to the landowner and his authorised staff.

Scottish Natural Heritage has made clear that the decision was made on the basis of evidence provided by Police Scotland of wildlife crime taking place against birds on the Leadhills Estate.

It is alleged there is a significant risk of recurrence therefore a three-year time limit has been imposed.

Claudia Beamish MSP has welcomed the news.

She said: “The decision by SNH to finally restrict the use of licences on Leadhills Estate is of fundamental significance and has not been arrived at too soon.

“Given the long history of reports of wildlife crime taking place here, I recognise the importance of the decision which sends a clear message about the unacceptability of recurring and ongoing wildlife persecution on the estate.

“I am also relieved that although individuals can still apply for licencing, their practices will be closely monitored.  

“Such action is certainly required for such crimes and has been a long time coming for the protection of wildlife and birds in the area.

“I recognise that there is a higher burden of proof for criminal offences.

“I have written to the Chief Constable asking for reassurance this is not the end of the matter and that evidence will continue to be scrutinised in relation to possible criminal prosecution.”

We asked the estate for comment but they failed to respond.