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Egg thief dragged to Sheffield court for stealing endangered wild birds UK News

Terrance Potter, 63, was given a 12-week sentence, suspended for 12 months, for offenses relating to the taking and possession of wild bird eggs during a hearing in the court of first Sheffield proceeding yesterday.

A spokesperson for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said legal action was taken after local game wardens reported a man was searching among the heather near Woodhead Pass near Holmfirth, where the birds nested, in April last year, during the first COVID-19 lockdown,

South Yorkshire Police tracked down Potter, a known individual, by intercepting him on moorland in the Peak District National Park on April 30 last year.

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179 black-headed gull eggs were found at Terence Potter's home.  Photo credit: The RSPB
179 black-headed gull eggs were found at Terence Potter’s home. Photo credit: The RSPB

An RSPB spokesperson said: “When police executed a search warrant at his Upper Cumberworth home, with the help of the RSPB, they discovered a stash of nearly 200 eggs – including the curlews, golden plovers, black-headed gulls and some species from overseas. – stored in plastic cabinets, drawers, trays and containers. The collection was seized, along with an egg blowing kit and various equipment.

Potter was convicted of egg collecting offenses in 2013.

It is illegal to intentionally take or possess the eggs of any wild bird contrary to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Potter was convicted of two counts of possession of objects that could be used to take and possess bird eggs, three counts of possession of wild bird eggs (179 black-headed gull eggs, eight golden plovers and seven curlews), three heads of wild bird eggs (179 black-headed gull eggs, four golden plovers and three curlews).

Curlew chick hatched from recovered eggs. Credit: C Hardcastle via RSPB

The condemnation comes just days after World Curlew Day, which aims to raise awareness of the plight of this familiar country bird, whose long, curved beak and frightening, bubbling cry are so evocative to so many. The UK is a crucial curlew breeding stronghold, home to around a quarter of the world’s population.

Yet in the UK the numbers have almost halved since the mid-1990s.

While searching Potter’s house, officers also discovered an incubator containing seven live eggs, including three curlew eggs. These were taken to bird breeding specialists near Hull, where three golden plovers and a curlew chick hatched. Once the chicks reached full growth, they were released back into the wild.

The magistrate said they had a particularly dark view of Potter’s claim to be an expert on wildlife and that Potter ‘had not acted with the best interests of wildlife at heart’.

Collection Golden Plover Eggs. Credit: G Shorrock

In addition to his suspended sentence, Potter was also ordered to pay £ 120 in costs and £ 128 in victim fine surcharge, and to confiscate eggs and equipment used in committing the offenses.

Speaking after the conviction, Tom Grose, RSPB Investigations Officer, said: “We are pleased with today’s outcome, which sends a strong signal that such reckless destruction of wildlife, for any purpose. personal, will not be tolerated. Among Potter’s collection were seven curlew eggs – this is a declining, redlisted species that conservationists are working to bring back from the brink.

“Birds should be able to thrive in their natural environment, where they can be enjoyed by all.

Fortunately, these days egg collection is largely a thing of the past and court cases like this are becoming increasingly rare. We are grateful to those who reported this man’s suspicious behavior and to the police. of South Yorkshire for such a thorough investigation. “


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This notice was published: 2021-04-24 07:01:08