Saturday, January 12, 2013

Bird's Eggs and Goldfish

An 'obsessed' bird’s egg collector came under suspicion of the West Yorkshire Police last year.  After monitoring his behaviour the National Wildlife Crimes Unit was called in.  They and officials from the RSPB searched the man’s home and found around a thousand eggs, one of the largest collections discovered in recent years.  The haul included many owls, raptors, rare British breeders like spoonbills, declining species such as tree sparrows, and a range of seabirds from Flamborough Head. 

For taking these eggs the full force of the law was brought down upon the miscreant this week.  He was tried and convicted in court, and fined the princely sum of, er, absolutely nothing!  His lawyer argued that a harsh sentence could cause him to lose his home and job, so magistrates instead gave him a two-year conditional discharge.  The condition is of course that he realises he has been a very naughty boy and must not do it again.

Meanwhile another criminal’s two year probation has just ended.  Joan Higgins is a 68 year old pensioner from Manchester who runs a small pet shop.  In 2010 she was caught red-handed by a council official selling a £1 goldfish to a 15-year old boy.  Apparently since 2006 only someone over 16 can buy a goldfish.  
Mrs Higgins was duly tried, convicted, and fined £1000, given a seven week curfew and fitted with an electronic tag.  She can now reflect that she could have avoided all that if only she had indulged in a more innocent activity, like stealing rare bird’s eggs.
Kirklees Court, staffed by eejits

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