Two part-time gamekeepers have been convicted for trying to kill birds of prey using a pole-trap – a barbaric device outlawed for over 100 years.

On 21 April 2011, Ivan Peter Crane and his son Ivan Mark Crane of Astley Grange Farm, East Langton, Leicestershire, appeared at Market Harborough Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty in relation to the use and possession of a pole-trap. They were fined £1,000 and £500 respectively and ordered to pay £80 costs. Crane (Snr) was also fined a further £2,000 in relation to the illegal and unsafe storage of pesticides on his farm.

Ivan Peter Crane caught on camera next to the illegal pole-trap. J. Leonard (RSPB)

The case started in August 2010 when RSPB Investigators located a set-pole trap at a pheasant pen on the farm. The trap consisted of a metal spring trap positioned on the corner post of the pen. Any bird or prey or owl landing on the post, an obvious vantage point, would have caused the jaws of the trap to spring shut trapping the bird and causing horrific injuries in the process.

A return visit was made to start a surveillance operation and the trap was found to be still present but had been unset. Following several days of RSPB surveillance, both men were filmed walking & driving the obvious illegal trap hanging on the corner post.

Leicestershire Police were contacted and a raid took place during which the trap was seized.Both men accepted rearing pheasants for shooting but initially denied any knowledge of the trap. Following the court outcome, RSPB Investigations Officer Guy Shorrock said: 'These are barbaric devices and have no place in our countryside. This case again shows the value of RSPB surveillance evidence in bringing these people to justice.'

The pole-trap set to kill birds of prey. L Scott (RSPB)