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Highest ever fine for grouse moor owner

The multimillionaire owner of the Glenogil shooting estate in Tayside, John Dodd, has had his subsidy cut by £107,000 by the Scottish executive, because of suspicions the pesticides were used against birds of prey on his land.

Dodd is the co-founder of the Edinburgh-based Artemis investment bank and hedge fund. This year Artemis sponsored the Scottish Game Fair.

There has been a series of suspected cases of illegal persecution of rare birds of prey on the Glenogil estate – but none has led to a prosecution.

RSPB investigators found an illegal compound – a combination of carbofuran and isofenphos pesticides that is not licensed for use in the UK – on a dead rabbit staked out on a hillside close to Glenogil in April 2006.

That led to a Tayside police raid, involving 80 officers from several forces, alongside investigators from the RSPB and officials from the rural payments division of the Scottish executive.

The police raid uncovered the same combination of pesticides on a dead pigeon laid out as bait on the estate, on game bags used by estate staff, and in soil and plant samples.

A member of the Glenogil staff was sued after an illegal trap was discovered, but the case was later dropped by the prosecutors.

The fine of £107,650 is the largest ever civil penalty imposed under strict EU “cross-compliance” legislation, which makes protection of wildlife a condition of the subsidy.