A large quantity of toxic poison has been found on a South Lanarkshire sporting estate notorious for wildlife crime. The haul was discovered by a League Against Cruel Sports investigator, carrying out general field research on Leadhills Estate in July last year.

Police Scotland has confirmed the poison was Carbofuran, a banned substance hazardous to humans and wildlife alike, which is illegal to keep or use in the UK.

Leadhills Estate, dubbed Deadhills, is currently subject to a three year suspension of general licenses which allows landowners and managers to control wild birds in actions that would otherwise be illegal, to protect livestock or crops. Leadhills’ licenses were revoked in 2019 after SNH concluded that: “There is clear evidence that wildlife crimes have been committed on this property. Because of this, and the risk of more wildlife crimes taking place, we have suspended the general licences on this property for three years.”

Robbie Marsland, Director of the League Against Cruel Sports, Scotland said: “Carbofuran is deadly in even the smallest of quantities so to find such a large amount in the countryside is extremely worrying. The amount our investigator found has the potential to kill many hundreds of people, not to mention the harm this could have caused to wildlife.

“Fortunately this time the illegal, toxic poison has been disposed of by the police but this is not always the case with carbofuran often responsible for a number of wildlife killings including protected birds of prey.”

This was not the first time Carbofuran has been found at Leadhills. The League previously found a stash back in May 2019.

Robbie Marsland added: “Raptor persecution and other illegal poisoning of wildlife is just one part of the circle of destruction which surrounds grouse moors, painting a depressing picture of the lengths some individuals will go to in order to protect grouse for sport shooting.”

The case has now been closed by Police Scotland after it found no evidence to link the poison to any person or persons.

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Notes to editor

  1. The League Against Cruel Sports is Britain's leading charity that works to stop animals being persecuted, abused and killed for sport. The League was instrumental in helping bring about the landmark Hunting Act. We carry out investigations to expose law-breaking and cruelty to animals and campaign for stronger animal protection laws and penalties. We work to change attitudes and behaviour through education and manage sanctuaries to protect wildlife. Find out more about our work at www.league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).
  2. Images from Leadhills can be downloaded here.
  3. Media enquiries to Louise Robertson on 07930 539832 / [email protected]