PUBLISHED: 14:30, 31 July 2014 | UPDATED: 14:30, 31 July 2014
An experienced gamekeeper, who works on the estate of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, has been fined £700 for incorrectly setting a trap which killed a protected tawny owl.
Mark Stevens pleaded guilty at Basingstoke Magistrates' Court to two charges of using spring traps without failing to prevent non-target species being caught.
As well as the fine, the 42-year-old, who is self employed, was ordered to pay £650 court costs and a £50 victim surcharge.
The traps had not been set on the Sydmonton Court Estate which is owned by Sir Andrew, Richard Atkins, Stevens' solicitor said after the case.
Mark Gammon, prosecuting, told the court that a member of the public, Ed McBride, was walking in the Ecchinswell area of Kingsclere, on August 19 last year when he found the tawny owl caught in the trap which had been set on a pole next to a pheasant pen.
Mr Gammon said: "As he walked along he heard a flapping sound and saw an owl caught in one of these traps, the owl was hanging upside down as the trap had been secured to the post by a line of blue washing line."
He added that the spring trap was an approved trap but had not been set properly with a cage to prevent unintended animals and birds from getting caught.