A gamekeeper who admitted to trapping and killing two buzzards has avoided jail. John Orrey was filmed going into a trap at Kneeton, Nottinghamshire, and beating the poor birds to death on two separate occasions. The sickening footage was obtained after the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) was alerted to the trap, and an officer set up a hidden camera to monitor what was going on at the site. Nottingham Magistrates' Court sentenced John Orrey to 20 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months.

In two separate incidents on 8 and 9 January, Orrey was pictured entering the trap and striking a bird until it was dead and then taking the corpse to his car.

Thomas Grose, assistant investigations officer for the RSPB, told the BBC: "I deal with bird of prey persecution on a daily basis but it was really shocking.

"To see the way these birds were beaten to death - these birds are a protected species and they shouldn't be being killed full-stop, never mind in such a horrific manner.

"I hope this sentence acts as a deterrent and sends a strong message to people thinking of committing this crime."

Why were the buzzards targeted by John Orrey?

Buzzards are birds of prey that often go after pheasants (a bird that people pay to shoot). In 2016, speaking to the Guardian Tim Boxall stated that “There’s an old saying: where there’s livestock, there’s going to be deadstock,” Boxall says. “You accept the buzzards are always going to have some, but this year was horrendous. I lost 500 pheasants at £3.75 each. It cost me £75 a day to pay someone to sit there all day to watch over them, basically sunbathing for two weeks, but it did keep them away.”

Rob Pownall

Founder of Keep The Ban

Looking to help?

Adopt a fox with Keep The Ban for just £2 per month and support our on-going work to expose wildlife crime and end fox hunting in the UK for good.


Thank you for visiting our site!

Keep The Ban is a non-profit organisation that campaigns to end wildlife persecution and we fund anti-hunting groups across the country such as the brilliant Hunt Investigation Team. We rely solely on our supporters and donations. If you'd like to support what we do please head to our shop or back us with a small donation.