A FARMER and parish councillor has backed the actions of an Island man suspected of shooting and selling fledgling rooks.
Agreeing with the editor of the Shooting Times about harvesting rook meat, Ashey farmer, Cllr Howard Johnson, described the 45-year-old suspect’s arrest by the police as "absolutely barmy" and said young rooks were a nuisance to crops.
A police investigation followed a County Press report of fledgling rooks being shot and sold to The Taverners pub in Godshill, where they were served as a gourmet dish.
The practice of shooting baby rooks was condemned by many CP readers.
The suspect, from Ashey, Ryde, remains under investigation but has not been charged, said the Crown Prosecution Service.
Cllr Johnson, a former IW NFU chairman, told members of Havenstreet and Ashey Parish Council the suspect was a licensed slaughterer, who should be allowed to keep his guns or he would lose a chunk of his livelihood.
"Farmers sometimes need to dispatch an injured animal in distress quickly and in as humane a way as possible," he said. "This parishioner had his firearms taken from him — not because he did anything wrong but because he allegedly sold a few rooks to a wholesaler."
Parish police officer, PC Nick Massey, said it was constabulary policy to seize guns during an investigation of this nature. Cllr Johnson read to parish council members the Shooting Times editor’s letter to readers .
It said: "Although you can legally shoot rooks, parakeets and other pest species, you cannot legally offer for sale the meat you harvest in the same way you can with pigeon, rabbit and squirrel.
The letter added: "It may not be to everyone’s taste but rook has a long and noble tradition in this country. Moreover, it is not scarce.
"If restaurants in Ryde were offering panda pie, I could understand the need for a crack crime prevention task force but I’m afraid the IW Police is, in this case, simply being led by the nose by a bunch of publicity-seeking imbeciles."
PC Massey did not wish to respond to the article.
Fellow parish councillors said it was not their place to comment on the investigation.