A gamekeeper was fined £1,500 by Norwich Magistrates on 16th January 1996 for illegally setting pole traps to catch sparrowhawks and tawny owls.

The traps were set on fine 10ft poles on the Kimberley Hall estate, Norfolk. Kevin Eastwick, prosecuting, said birds caught in the traps died either from shock or hypothermia.

Mr Eastwich said Millican, a trainee, had been told to set traps by head gamekeeper, Sidney Carter, 81, who was not being prosecuted because of his age and ill heath. Millican told the court that any fine would be paid by the landowner, Eton-educated Mr Ronald Buxton, 72.

Millican said later: ‘I have been made a scapegoat. I did not know setting these traps was illegal. I was just told to do it and I did it”.

Duncan McNiven, investigations officer for the RSPB, said after the case, ‘This sort of trap is extremely vicious and unpleasant. They do not discrimate. They could trap any bird, be it a sparrow or a rare species. This is a problem all over the country, hidden away most of the time on private estates. Some gamekeepers are not prepared to accept that birds of prey are predatory by their nature.

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