A 64-year-old 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.
David Farrow was fined £200 following a hearing at Scarborough Magistrates' Court on 8 July 2011. He must also pay £100 costs.
Farrow's activities came to light on 19 June 2011, 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, whilst 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 Neighbourhood 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."
The trapping, possession and sale of wild-taken finches are all offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981, but still remain a widespread problem in the UK.
10.24am - 18 July 2011