I AGREE wholeheartedly that those who illegally persecute and destroy our endangered species should suffer the full weight of the law ("Conviction that is welcome" , Herald Editorial, January 13).

However the case of George Mutch appears to have some very concerning implications. It would appear that the RSPB put a recording device on private land without the knowledge or permission of the landowner. The resulting film was then accepted by the sheriff as competent evidence and the gamekeeper was convicted on this evidence. On whose legal authority was the recording device so placed? Were the RSPB acting without legal authority? If they had legal authority how far does this authority extend? Can they place snooping devices in our gardens? Is the next logical step that the RSPCC could place cameras inside people's house ostensibly to identify child abuse?

I am aware of the very strict rules regarding the positioning of CCTV cameras so they do not look onto another's property and this seems to directly contradict the actions in this case.

People may think I am making a mountain out of a molehill but a security consultant counselled me that with the explosion of smart appliances within the home it is relatively simple to plant software which will record speech within a room. He suggested that there was a serious threat to our individual liberty which is only protected by the courts being required to authorise spying of this kind. This case appears to threaten ths safeguard.

David Stubley,

22 Templeton Crescent,


LIKE most of my RSPB colleagues I was extremely pleased when gamekeeper George Mutch was jailed for the destruction of a goshawk ("Gamekeeper first in UK to be jailed for killing bird of prey", The Herald, January 13), but have we jailed the right person? George Mutch was a gamekeeper working for an unknown company in Jersey and I would imagine his duties would involve making sure the Kildrummy estate was in perfect order for the guns who would pay exorbitant prices for having a blast at the grouse on the Glorious Twelfth. George Mutch was looking after his job.

The people who should have been in court are the owners of the Jersey company, but of course our law cannot get a hold of them because the company is based in Jersey. This is a small victory but a lot of hard work by the RSPB and other conservationists will have to go on. I am delighted to be part of that group and look forward to taking my grandchildren out and pointing out the wildlife that we can still enjoy

AC Kilpatrick,

No 1 Holding, Glasgow Road, Longcroft, Stirlingshire.