SCOTLAND’S grouse shooting industry should be ‘terminated’ BBC Springwatch presenter Chris Packham has said.

Mr Packham, a long-time opponent of the sport, launched his broadside following the start of the grouse season on the Glorious Twelfth.

Speaking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the 55-year-old, said that grouse shooting could be banned if it was linked to the illegal killing of birds of prey.

His comments follow an outspoken attack on the shooting industry by the RSPB following the disappearance of a Golden Eagle least week, the eight in five years.

Mr Packham said: "If an industry is founded on criminal behaviour, I don’t care how much money it is worth and how many people might be employed. It has to be terminated, that is the law of the land. If, to provide enough grouse on a driven grouse moor you have to cull birds of prey, then shut it down.’

He added: ‘I’m not an extremist, I’m a conservationist.’

HeraldScotland: A Golden EagleA Golden Eagle

His remarks come despite the BBC TRust launching an investigation into previous comments following complaints by the Countryside Alliance and the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust. A decision is due next month.

Grouse shooting is said to generate £23.3million for the Scottish economy and support 1,000 jobs,

The Scottish Moorland Group, part of Scottish Land and Estates, which represents landowners, says grouse moor management helps conserve wild birds such as the curlew and golden plover.

Director Tim Baynes said: "We repeatedly condemn illegal acts but it is disappointing to hear someone blind themselves to the realities of the many benefits of grouse shooting.

"Aside from the multi-million benefit to Scotland’s tourism industry, grouse shooting supports many fragile rural communities."

HeraldScotland: The grouse shooting industry supports Scottish jobs, say landowners The grouse shooting industry supports Scottish jobs, say landowners