A leading golf club is being probed by police over claims bird traps were used cruelly to catch crows.
Sunningdale, with members including Sean Connery and Tim Henman, is one of the world’s top courses.
The 118-year-old club in Berkshire claimed it had the traps laid to protect other birds and reptiles from crows, although the birds had also been stealing golf balls they mistook for other birds’ eggs that they feed on.
Naturalists found two crows in “Larsen” traps on adjoining land.
Simon Cowell, of the Wildlife Aid Foundation, said: “One had died, the other came to us in a terrible condition.
“There are humane ways to deal with wildlife issues. Animals should not have to suffer and there is a responsibility on people who manage landscapes to do so with care.”
The RSPCA passed the complaint to Surrey Police, which is investigating whether the traps were used correctly.
Larsen traps, metal cages with two or more compartments, are often used to catch magpies and can be used under licence as long as conditions are met.
A perch must be provided along with food, water and shelter. Traps must be checked daily.
Sunningdale says the traps were set by a contractor and maintains that they were used in accordance with guidelines.
In 2015, crows at Headingley Golf Club in Leeds stole 100 balls.
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