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Anger as animal cruelty charges against gamekeeper dropped due to paperwork blunders

Campaigners claim the Crown is failing to prosecute wildlife crime
Campaigners claim the Crown is failing to prosecute wildlife crime

A GAMEKEEPER accused of catching foxes in illegal traps has had charges against him dropped because of a paperwork blunder.

John Goodenough, 32, who worked on an estate owned by one of the UK’s richest families, had been accused of using illegal traps on foxes on a farm in Ayrshire.

At the time, Goodenough was working as a gamekeeper for the Dalreoch Farming and Sporting Estates, owned by the Wellesley family.

Goodenough faced action after he was allegedly caught with horrific gin traps covered in animal blood and dead fox cubs were spotted near his traps last May. It is alleged he had used the traps on a neighbouring farm.

The case had been due to be held at Ayr Sheriff Court but the prosecution has now been dropped by the Crown.

Legal sources at the court say the Crown abandoned the case two days before it was to be heard after getting the dates wrong on its paperwork.

One source said: “The Crown is looking for any excuse to throw out wildlife crime cases.”

Last month a row erupted after MSPs asked the Crown Office to clarify how it handles evidence in wildlife crime cases after the prosecution of an alleged bird of prey shooting was dropped.

RSPB Scotland said one of its cameras in Moray recorded evidence suggesting a hen harrier was illegally killed in June 2013.

But the Crown threw out the evidence saying it was not admissible.

TV presenter Chris Packham slammed the move saying it made him “very angry” and accused the Crown Office of a “lack of consistency.”

It is understood Goodenough was sacked from his role on the estate but no one at Dalreoch could be reached for comment.

Goodenough did not respond to our request for comment.

A Crown Office spokesman: “Following consideration of the circumstances of the case, the Procurator Fiscal decided there should be no further proceedings at this time.”