Committee accepts case for specific trap wrecking offence

The Rural Affairs and Islands Committee has accepted the case for a specific new offence to cover trap wrecking in the forthcoming 'Grouse' Bill.


The Committee published its full Stage One report on the Wildlife Management and Muirburn Bill last Friday afternoon, with a number of recommendations.

It also said there was a need for further clarity on certain aspects of the legislation, with the Stage One debate due to take place in the Chamber at Holyrood next week.


While the SGA will push for amendments at Stage Two, the representative body was pleased to see MSPs recognise the case for a specific new offence to be created to cover criminal damage and interference to legal traps.


This has been a long-running SGA campaign. The organisation now hopes the Minister will be receptive to the Committee's findings on the issue.


SGA Chairman Alex Hogg, MBE, said: 


"We are pleased the Committee has recommended a new offence to be created for criminal damage to legal traps. 
"People wrecking or interfering with legal traps risk causing a wildlife crime and they place the public at risk. New international traps for stoats, for example, could cause someone a serious injury if they have been tampered with, and left exposed.
"Furthermore, we need a proper deterrent for this type of crime. At the moment people are taking to social media to encourage others to vandalise traps. The present offences are not sufficient as a deterrent.
"In terms of the Bill, generally, the key is how proportionate it is. We have had senior ornithologists telling the Committee that grouse moor management is the least environmentally damaging upland land use there is, when you take away persecution. The Bill has to strike the balance between retaining all the benefits of that management whilst regulating proportionately."



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