Man illegally traps and cages wild finches in Dagenham

12:35 20 November 2012

The finches were found in cages inside a bag

The finches were found in cages inside a bag

Archant

A man who pleaded guilty to catching seven protected wild birds claimed he did not know it was a criminal offence.

Peter Fayers was found with cages of finches and nets on open land in Choats Road, Dagenham on October 24.

The 56-year-old said he collected birds and was replacing ones that had been stolen from him. He told officers he knew taking birds was a wildlife offence but not a criminal one.

Father-of-eight Fayers, of Warwall, Beckton, pleaded guilty to taking the protected to species contrary to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

The court heard how Fayers was caught when a member of the public called police to say he believed a man was trapping birds.

It is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to trap, possess or sell any wild bird in the UK and illegal to take or possess wild birds’ eggs.

Finches are one of the more popular species to trap because they’re brightly coloured, have pleasant sounding calls or songs and are easy to keep in cages or small aviaries.

Birds of prey, such as hawks, eagles and falcons, are also targeted.

There is a legal and active trade in finches in the UK, but only in finches that have been bred in captivity.

Research released on Monday shows that Great Britain has lost 44million birds since 1966, including an average of 50 house sparrows every hour.

Officers arrived in Choats Road at around 8am and found Fayers’s car parked by the side of the road with a note saying: “Car not abandoned - taking dog for a walk.”

The member of the public pointed them in the direction of Fayers, who was standing in open land nearby.

On the ground beside him were bags containing cages with seven small finches and around 10 to 15 metres of netting used to catch the birds.

In mitigation, duty solicitor Remy Mohamed, said Fayers, who works as a painter, had never been in trouble with police before.

Chairman of the bench Stuart Jubb adjourned the case until November 29 for reports.

He described the offence as serious and said the matter would probably not be dealt with by way of a fine.

A spokesman for the RSPB said taking wild birds can threaten the future of the species taken.

He added: “Trapping is often inhumane and the victims can be left maimed or sometimes killed as they struggle to escape.

“Far better to let everyone enjoy the sight and sound of a free goldfinch or songthrush singing outdoors than to cage it.”

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