Devon pair sentenced for wild bird egg thefts

First published in Devon

Two men have been sentenced for offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act after admitting stealing rare-breed birds' eggs.

The conviction at Newton Abbot Magistrates' Court follows a two-year investigation into stealing eggs and other connected offences.

Marcus Betteridge, 52, of Jubilee Road, Totnes, was fined £1,000 for disturbing Dartford warblers.

Seymour Crang, 49, of Bittaford, was fined £1,000 for the unlawful possession of wild bird eggs

The convictions follow a two-year operation between the Police, RSPB and the National Wildlife Crime Unit under an operation codenamed Blackwell.
Joint intelligence gathering and partnership working culminated in the execution of search warrants in November 2010 at the home addresses of both Betteridge and Crang, when property relating to the charges was seized, including wild bird eggs, collecting equipment, photographs and diaries relating to activities at nest sites of wild birds.

Following further investigation by the three agencies, sufficient evidence was gathered to interview and subsequently charge both men.

The officer in case, police constable Josh Marshall, a Wildlife Crime officer said: “This prosecution and sentencing today highlights the benefits of joint partnership working in tackling wildlife crime and the determination to bring offenders to justice.

“This should send a clear message to persons engaged in such criminal activity that they will be identified and brought to justice”.

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