A GAMEKEEPER has criticised plans to give a wildlife charity additional powers of investigation as he spoke of the misery caused to him and his family by a failed prosecution.

The Scottish Government is considering extending the Scottish Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' powers to investigate wildlife crime cases, including those involving traps and snares. But Mike Reddington said he had a criminal case instigated by Scottish SPCA hanging over him for 18 months for allegedly setting an illegal crow trap.

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) say that the SSPCA did not find any animal or bird in the trap, which was not set to catch, but Mr Reddington still found himself facing the possibility of a court action.

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The SGA says that the SSPCA officials gained access to scour the estate where Mr Reddington worked and instigated a case against the gamekeeper, claiming he had set a Larsen mate trap which may have injured a wild bird or animal.

The Crown finally dropped the case, brought in November 2012, on the eve of the trial. Nevertheless, the gamekeeper, from Perthshire, says he could have lost his general licence to work, and his family house. Mr Reddington said: "It's frightening what they were able to do to me and my family."

But SSPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said the SSPCA did not have powers of prosecution and a decision to take a case to court lay with the Procurator Fiscal.