A MAN was caught red-handed by a police officer in possession of a wild bird and using a trap to take protected wild birds in Scarborough, a court heard.
David Farrow, 64, was fined £200 following a hearing at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court. He must also pay £100 costs.
Farrow’s activities came to light on June 19, when Wildlife Crime Officer PC Graham Bilton visited at a number of caravans parked in a lay-by off the Dunslow Road industrial estate in Eastfield, while he was patrolling the area.
He spoke to Farrow and noticed a nearby twin-chambered cage trap, of a type used for illegally catching small wild birds, in one of the chambers was a bird identified as a male goldfinch.
PC Bilton, who is part of the Scarborough Rural Safer Neighbourhoods Team, said: “The purpose of the trap and bird is to attract other wild birds of the same species drawn by the visual presence and singing of the ‘call bird’ inside. Any other wild bird approaching then activates the trap door which springs shut.”
Farrow, whose home address is a caravan site in Osbaldwick in the York area, was arrested for offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and subsequently pleaded guilty at court. The goldfinch was successfully released back into the wild.
PC Bilton added: “It is important that those responsible for committing wildlife crimes are brought to justice.
“This type of crime can have a dramatic effect on the local fauna and flora, yet they often go unreported and are difficult to investigate. Members of the public should contact the police if they are witness wildlife crime.”
Goldfinches are typically found anywhere there are scattered bushes and trees, rough ground with thistles and other seeding plants.
According to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds: “Their long fine beaks allow them to extract otherwise inaccessible seeds from thistles and teasels.
“Increasingly they are visiting birdtables and feeders. In winter many UK goldfinches migrate as far south as Spain.”