Bird catcher to pay court costs

A MAN who admitted capturing wild birds to sell has been handed a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £875 costs by a deputy district judge.

David Boswell, 62, of Southfields, Long Eaton, appeared at Derby magistrates’ Court on Thursday, June 9.

He pleaded guilty to the charges of the taking of a wild bird contrary to the Wildlife and Countryside Act andposessing two wild birds.

John Sutcliffe, prosecuting, for the RSPCA told the court that two goldfinches and bird catching paraphernalia, including a net and a decoy cage were found at Boswell’s home.

He told deputy district judge, Parkash Aujla, that Boswell had been spotted by a dog walker hiding in a spinney on Trent Meadow in November last year.

When the dog walker confronted Boswell and asked if he was catching wild birds he replied: “Yes I am, you’re not going to report me are you?”

On another occasion the same dog walker saw Boswell in the same area of Trent Meadow with a net, a decoy cage and bird seed.

Police officers and RSPCA inspectors searched Boswell’s home the following day.

As well as nets and cages, inspectors found bird rings that are placed on the feet of birds bred in captivity.

At Boswell’s house there was also a file, used to file down the rings to put on other birds’ feet to make them appear as if they were bred in captivity before they are sold.

Mr Sutcliffe said: “These rings are sold in bags of ten, the defendant had 127. That just shows the scale of the operation.”

The court heard that Boswell admitted in a police interview after his home was searched that he had previously captured 30 bullfinches and 50 to 60 goldfinches.

Representing Boswell, Emma Cornell said: “My client pleaded guilty at the first oportunity and made candid admissions in the police interview.

“This whole process has shocked Mr Boswell and he has shown genuine remorse for his actions.

“He took this up as a hobby which he used to share with his father as a boy.

“He knows what he did was wrong and as a result of this he will not keep any birds or other animals again.”

Mr Aujla handed Boswell a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered him to pay £875 costs.

He said: “If something like this happens again in the next 12 months then the court will be told you have breached an order and will be able to take these three matters into account when sentencing you.

Speaking After the case, a spokesman for the RSPCA added: “The RSPCA takes the matter of possession of wild birds and any form of trapping them very seriously.

“It is highly stressful for the wild birds that are caught and it can have a detrimental impact on the bird population.

“The RSPCA will do everything it can to catch those people involved in this illegal practice.”