Ancient mantrap stolen from ruins of medieval Scots monastery

The device was located on the Abbey's entrance wall and was used in the late 1700s and 1800s to catch trespassers.

Police appeal after ancient poacher mantrap stolen from Deer Abbey in Mintlaw, Aberdeenshire Police Scotland
Mantrap: A historical trap used to catch poachers and trespassers has been stolen.

A historical man trap has been stolen from the ruins of a medieval monastery in Aberdeenshire.

The trap, located at the Deer Abbey in Mintlaw, is believed by investigating officers to have been removed between the afternoon of June 14 and June 15.

Used in the late 1700s and 1800s to catch poachers and trespassers on large estates, it was located on the Abbey’s entrance wall. Traps of this kind were made illegal in 1827.

Inspector Rory Campbell said: “Historic sites form an integral part of our cultural heritage, and far from being places consigned to the past, they are vibrant and alive, welcoming visitors from all across the globe.

“Enquiries are ongoing into this incident and we are appealing for anyone with any information which may assist us to get in touch.”

Only the ruins of Deer Abbey remain today. It was founded in 1219 by William Comyn, Earl of Buchan, who brought Cistercian monks from Kinloss Abbey near Elgin to establish the new monastery. In 1233, they buried the Earl in their new church.

The monastery was disestablished in the Protestant Reformation of 1560, and it underwent significant alterations after its last monk died.

Peter McGrath, head of physical security at Historic Environment Scotland said: “Theft from historic sites, whether on our estate or in the wider historic environment, is unacceptable. Acts such as this can cause irreparable damage and mean that we can lose pieces of our past forever.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact 101 quoting incident 1384 of June 20, 2022. Alternatively, information can be passed to Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111.