Father and son sentenced for wildlife crime offences following police-led search of a property near Berwick

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Two men have been sentenced with community payback orders after pleading guilty to a series of wildlife crime related offences that included illegally selling peregrine falcons.

An investigation led by Police Scotland was launched in 2021 and during a search of a property in Lamberton, near Berwick, seven chicks were discovered as well as a number of other birds of prey.

While it is legal to sell captive-bred peregrines, possessing or selling wild birds is not.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Timothy Hall, 48, was given 220 hours, and his son Lewis Hall, 23, was given 150 hours community payback orders today (Monday) at Jedburgh Sheriff Court.

Peregrine falcon chicks. Picture courtesy of the Scottish SPCA.Peregrine falcon chicks. Picture courtesy of the Scottish SPCA.
Peregrine falcon chicks. Picture courtesy of the Scottish SPCA.

Both have been banned from keeping birds of prey for five years.

They admitted charges relating to 22 peregrine falcons, including being involved in the illegal sale of the protected species, at Selkirk Sheriff Court on December 11, 2023.

Timothy Hall also pleaded guilty to charges relating to firearms and animal welfare offences.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

To confirm the chicks were wild, a new innovative DNA tactic was introduced that definitively established they had not been bred in captivity – even linking some of them to wild adult peregrine falcons known to nest in the south of Scotland.

The investigation spanned two-and-a-half years and through extensive inquiries, Police Scotland was able to trace the sale of a number of peregrines to UK establishments trading in the birds and confirmed some had been exported overseas.

Detective Superintendent Bryan Burns said: “The sale of peregrine falcons has become an extremely lucrative business which Timothy and Lewis Hall exploited for their own financial gain.

“If their illegal activities had continued unchallenged, this would have had a massive impact on the population of young birds and had the potential to wipe out the entire population of peregrine falcons in the south of Scotland.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Throughout the investigation, a range of partners provided invaluable contributions and expertise including the Scottish SPCA and the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit.

But after the sentences were delivered, Scottish SPCA specialist investigator Mark Rafferty said: “We are extremely disappointed at the sentencing result today. This was a specialised case which has taken years to appear in court.

“Our team, along with the Police Wildlife Crime Unit, worked hard to provide sufficient evidence and DNA testing to get a better result.”