Almost 500 wild birds’ eggs illegally kept

14-08-2009 | |

A man in Abergele, Wales, has been caught by the police, hoarding an illegal collection of nearly 500 wild birds’ eggs, including 8 from endangered species, in his bedroom.

Allan Dyche admitted hoarding 474 eggs – including one from a protected avocet – the symbol of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. He later insisted he’d done nothing wrong, saying he had not personally stolen the eggs from nests, and his only vice was to have collecting as his ‘hobby’, reports the Daily Mail.

Dyche said he’d inherited most of the eggs from his father and received others from an unidentified man at a Rhyl car boot sale for free.

The Daily Post reported that Dyche said he had began collecting them in 1960 at the age of 9. ‘I’ve not been caught drinking and driving. My little vice is collecting things. It is only a hobby,’ he said.

He pleaded guilty to one count of possessing eight eggs of rare wild birds. They included one egg from an avocet, which had died out in Britain but is now being reintroduced through breeding programmes.  

He also had the egg of a cirl bunting, classed as endangered after the species was hit by modern farming methods.   

‘Some of the eggs are probably from the 30s or even Victorian times,’ he added. ‘I feel sorry for the birds that have gone but they are long dead.’

Dyche also pleaded guilty to possessing 466 other eggs of wild birds, under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

His solicitor Craig Hutchinson said his client was ‘nervous, embarrassed and disgusted with himself’, adding: ‘He was under the impression that the collection was so old he was not committing an offence.’ 

However, District Judge Richard Williams said: ‘This is somebody who had an unhealthy interest in rare eggs who must have known he was proscribed from having them. I am asked to accept that no money changed hands.’
He found that scenario ‘inherently unlikely’ and ‘ridiculous’, though he added: ‘There’s no evidence that you took these eggs yourself.’ 

The District Judge said Dyche’s actions made vulnerable birds ‘more vulnerable’.

He sentenced him to a 12-month community order. He must do 80 hours unpaid work – with light duties – and be electronically tagged to monitor a 28-day curfew between 8pm and 6am. He must also pay £60 prosecution costs.

District Judge Williams ordered the forfeiture of the seized eggs, which will now be preserved by the RSPB.

Outside court, Dyche said he did not realise the seriousness of the charge of keeping wild birds eggs.

Source: Daily Mail

Natalie Berkhout Freelance journalist
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