Gamekeeper Ivan Crane has won an appeal against his conviction earlier this year of three wildlife crime offences, after a judge at Nottingham Crown Court gave a stinging criticism of the policeman who investigated the case.

Judge Tony Mitchell said Leicestershire Police?s wildlife officer, Special Constable Neil Hughes, should have told Mr Crane that he could not use Larsen traps under the terms of the General Licence because he had previously been convicted of two wildlife offences.

The judge said: ?I can?t think of a case which more fairly fits an abuse of power, an abuse of position, and therefore an abuse of process.?

He described the actions of SC Hughes as being ?very underhand? and called it ?entrapment of the worst kind, grossly in breach of the way the public are entitled to expect the police to behave?.

The judge allowed Mr Crane?s appeal and a wasted costs order was made against the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in respect of Mr Crane?s costs in defending the case.

Mr Crane had originally pleaded guilty to two wildlife offences in April 2011. Two months later, SC Hughes, alone and dressed in khaki clothing, had taken covert video footage on Mr Crane?s farm of one of the Larsen traps at the centre of the case. He stated on the video that ?for all intents and purposes it is a legal trap.?

Ten days after that, he returned to the farm accompanied by a regular police officer, and told Mr Crane that it was his intention to check for ?illegal traps?. He was taken to the trap that he had seen on his previous visit and then to another part of the farm where the second Larsen trap was positioned.

The rest of this article appears in the 25th July issue of Shooting Times.

What is YOUR opinion?

Join other ST readers in our forums to discuss your views.

Like this article? Mark this page on a social bookmarking website…

The rest of this article appears in the 4th July issue of Shooting Times.

What is YOUR opinion?

Join other ST readers in our forums to discuss your views.

Like this article? Mark this page on a social bookmarking website…