The RSPB has been accused of telling children to ignore established procedures for reporting wildlife crime, and of portraying landowners as criminals who poison birds of prey.

In a letter sent to the bird charity and seen by Shooting Times, Douglas McAdam, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates (SLE), which represents 2,500 landowners in Scotland, wrote of his ?very strong concern? about a cartoon strip in the charity?s Junior Birdlife magazine.

In the cartoon, an RSPB investigations officer responds to a call from a mother and daughter about a dead bird of prey, and stakes out a wildlife crime scene accompanied only by Forkie, a red kite. The evidence gathered leads to an arrest.

In a statement, Mr McAdam said: ?I would not comment on the detail of correspondence between us and the RSPB, but I can confirm that we raised serious concerns about some of their literature. Our main concern is that there is a very well-established procedure for the reporting of incidents where there is asuspicion that a bird may have been poisoned.?

The cartoon appears to flout the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime?s guidelines for the collection of evidence in raptor persecution crimes, which state that incidents of raptor crime are often found by members of the public? those which are suspected of being a crime, must be reported to the police.

Mr McAdam continued: ?The police are the first port of call for any incident, and the RSPB should adhere to this, rather than confusing the reporting of incidents with their own fundraising and membership activities.?

The rest of this article appears in the 23rd November issue of Shooting Times.

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