As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Birdwatchers help fight against wildlife crime

London man convicted of trapping songbirds in East London

December 2012. Keen-eyed birdwatchers and the London Wildlife Trust acted promptly to help catch a man from Beckton, east London, in the act of illegally catching wild songbirds at Barking Riverside in the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham.

Several birdwatchers reported suspicious activity and evidence of trapping in early October to the London Wildlife Trust who reported the incident to the police. When suspects were seen by one of the birders at the same location on 24th October, the Trust were able to immediately contact the Metropolitan Police's Wildlife Crime Officer for Barking & Dagenham. The police responded immediately and were able to apprehend Peter Fayers at the site, in possession of mist nets and with several linnets and goldfinches held captive in small cages.

Fined & ASBO granted
Mr. Fayers, aged 56, pleaded guilty on 16th November to taking birds from the wild, and was fined £350 plus £85 costs and £35 compensation. The authorities also appealed for Mr. Fayers to be the subject of an antisocial behaviour order (ASBO). This was approved last week and is only the second such order to be granted under the Wildlife & Countryside Act in England and Wales. As a result of this order, which stands for a minimum of two years, Mr. Fayers is unable to leave his place of abode with nets, cages, poles, or any other equipment that would assist himself or another person to trap birds.

In Britain illegal songbird trapping is mainly associated with Victorian times. Nowadays, bird catching in this country is usually carried out legally by licensed ringers, who have been trained to capture and release birds for scientific purposes without causing them any harm.
A spokesperson for the Trust said: "It is sad that illegal songbird trapping is still occurring in London in the twenty-first century, and distressing to see the size of the cages that the birds were being held in. However, it is pleasing to see how quickly the police responded to apprehend the culprit and ensure that there was a happier ending to this particular story."

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