WILDLIFE campaigners have expressed outrage after prosecutors dropped 44 charges against a gamekeeper accused of storing poisons capable of killing thousands of people in an unlocked shed.

Following plea-bargaining, 68-year-old Jock Whellans admitted just four offences yesterday at Jedburgh Sheriff Court and was fined a total of £190.

Whellans was initially charged with 48 offences by police after the Borders estate where he worked was raided. The alleged offences ranged from the laying of poison baits in the open countryside and the use of an illegal snare.

When the case first reached court, that had been whittled down to 23 charges involving the illegal storage of poisons as well as a number of offences brought under the 1968 Firearms Act.

In court yesterday, Whellans pleaded guilty to just four offences, with not guilty pleas being accepted on the remaining charges.

Sheriff Craig McSherry took into account Whellans was a first offender and had health problems.

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