George Mutch, 48, was sentenced at Aberdeen Sheriff Court after being convicted of laying illegal traps and killing a goshawk by hitting it with a stick. It is the first custodial sentence for the crime of persecuting raptors, or birds of prey, in Scotland. Mutch was caught following video monitoring by RSPB officials on the Kildrummy estate near Alford in Aberdeenshire in August 2012. The footage showed that a jay had been used as a lure in a cage-style trap which had caught a rare goshawk. Mutch was seen killing the distinctive bird by repeatedly striking it with a stick, the court head. A second goshawk and a buzzard were also caught in a trap and the gamekeeper was recorded placing them in a sack and carrying them off.
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