A gamekeeper implicated in the poisoning of a red kite has contacted the press to protest his innocence.
The un-named keeper on the Edradynate Estate in Tayside told the Courier: "As a member of the Scottish Gamekeepers' Association, I am against anything illegal. Anybody who does this should be jailed because it's not on and I have never done anything like this in my life. To find a poisoned bird on my ground is just wrong because I don't use poison and wouldn't know how to. There is something funny about this and I think someone else has killed this bird and planted it on my estate."
He adds that he has never seen a red kite, living or dead, in the Strathtay valley - and that the laird is desperately upset because it besmirches the estate's reputation.
Naturally enough, the Gamekeeper Persecution Group is highly cynical. But calling the papers for a lengthy discussion doesn't sound like the actions of a guilty man to me. With a long history of nastiness surrounding the whole business of bird of prey "persecution", I suspect there's more to this than meets the eye. Fortunately it falls within the jurisdiction of Alan Stewart, a man who has a deep understanding of the issues, and commonsense in abundance.
UPDATE: I've now spoken to several people living within a few miles of this spot - without exception they tell me there are NO red kites in the area. I smell a (poisoned) rat.